Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NARF thanks 2014 Summer Law Clerk Christina Warner

Christina Warner at the NARF Boulder office
This summer, we highlighted the law students who were chosen to participate in NARF’s 2014 Law Clerk Program, and this week we're highlighting our final summer law clerk, Christina Warner.

Christina spent the summer in our Anchorage, Alaska, office and is now beginning her third year at the University of Colorado Law School in Boulder.  During the school year, Christina volunteers at NARF’s National Indian Law Library (NILL), the GLBT Center in Denver, and with the Marshall Brennan Center for Constitutional Literacy.  She received her B.A. from Johns Hopkins University and, during the summer of 2013, she interned for the Department of Treasury’s Alcohol Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau.  Thank you for all of your hard work, Christina!

And, don’t forget that NARF currently is seeking candidates for our 2015 Summer Law Clerk Program!  September 29, 2014 is the deadline to apply and more information can be found here.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

NARF co-sponsors Indigenous Film screening of Âs Nutayuneân: We Still Live Here

NARF is proud to co-sponsor another Indigenous Film @ Su Teatro, a monthly indigenous film series.  NARF co-sponsors the series with the International Institute for Indigenous Resource Management and the Denver American Indian Commission.

Please join us on Wednesday, September 10 for a screening of Âs Nutayuneân: We Still Live Here.  The event will take place at 721 Santa Fe Drive in Denver.  Doors open at 6:00pm and the film begins at 6:30pm, with a discussion about language, culture, and identity after the film.

Âs Nutayuneân: We Still Live Here was directed by Anne Makepeace.  This insightful documentary tells a remarkable story of cultural revival by the Wampanoag Indians of Southeastern Massachusetts.  Their ancestors ensured the survival of the first English settlers in America, and lived to regret it.  Centuries later, Jessie Little Doe Baird had dreams in which her ancestors spoke to her in Wampanoag, a language that hadn't been used for over 100 years.  Now the Aquinnah and Mashpee Wampanoag communities are bringing their language home again, saying loud and clear in their Native tongue, Âs Nutayuneân, "we still live here."  For more information on the film, follow this link

Friday, September 5, 2014

NARF joins 105 partners in asking broadcasters to stop using the offensive name of the Washington NFL team

Earlier this week NARF joined 105 other organizations in sending a united message from Indian Country and the civil rights community that it’s past time to change the mascot of the Washington NFL team.  NARF co-signed a letter asking broadcasters to stop using the offensive name of the Washington NFL team.  The letter also included a factsheet for broadcasters.  The letter states:
Dear Broadcaster,

As the new National Football League season approaches, we are writing to ask you to join other media organizations in refusing to broadcast the Washington team’s name on the public airwaves.  The team’s name is a dictionary-defined racial slur.  As of 2014’s U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ruling, it is also a government-defined racial slur.  Those definitions are correct. 

Throughout history, this term has been used to disparage Native Americans.  It is the term used by bounty hunters to describe bloody Native scalps, and it was the epithet screamed at Native Americans as they were dragged at gunpoint off their lands.  No doubt, the bigotry of this word is why the team was originally given the name by its longtime owner, avowed segregationist George Preston Marshall. 

Civil rights organizations, religious leaders, sports icons, Members of Congress from both parties and the President of the United States have all called on the Washington team to change its name.  At the same time, more and more news organizations and icons of sports media have decided to stand on the right side of history by refusing to continue repeating the team’s name during their coverage of the NFL.  Rather than repeat-and therefore promote-the racial slur in question, they have decided to use more generic descriptions when referring to the team.

Some might argue that objectivity requires broadcasters to continue promoting the racial slur as long as Washington team owner Dan Snyder keeps denigrating Native Americans by using the epithet as his team’s name.  But in this particular fight for basic equality and mutual respect, there is no “objective” position.  Every time the slur is promoted on the public airwaves even in a non-critical way by a journalist, it is an endorsement of the continued use of this slur.  In other words, using this word is not just to legitimize it - it is to endorse its use, to ignore its definition and to defend its message.

Last week, CBS sports anchor James Brown publicly declared that he believes the Washington team must change its name. That statement was particularly significant because it followed CBS Sports Chairman Sean McManus telling a magazine that his network has not forced its broadcasters to keep repeating this racial slur in their coverage of the NFL.

Though we would prefer networks institute rules prohibiting their resources from promoting dictionary- and government-defined racial slurs, we are hopeful that other sports media executives will at least follow McManus by allowing their individual employees not to promote this epithet.  We are also hopeful that with such editorial freedom, more sports media figures will follow Mr. Brown and speak out clearly against this continued injustice.

Attached to this letter is a list of the news outlets and sports media figures who have already decided to take a stand on the right side of history.  They have either editorialized against the R-word or refused to keep promoting the Washington team’s name.  We now ask you to do the same.
For over twenty years, NARF has publicly denounced use of the name, supporting and participating directly in various legislative and litigation efforts to put an end to use of this offensive name.  "NARF has long worked, and will continue to work, to put an end to this racial slur masquerading as a team name," said NARF Executive Director John Echohawk.

For a full copy of the letter, including all signatories, click here.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Redskins group infringes on NARF trademark

Native American Rights Fund logo
September 4, 2014

John E. Echohawk (303)-447-8760

It has recently come to the attention of the Native American Rights Fund, also known as NARF, that a group variously calling itself "Native American Redskins Fans" and "Native American Redskins Family" is improperly holding itself out as "NARF," in support of the continued use of the racially derogatory name used by the Washington D.C. National Football League franchise, and against which NARF has long battled.

This cynical use of NARF's trademark has caused confusion both inside and outside of Indian Country, and NARF would like to set the record straight: NARF does not advocate, nor has it ever advocated, for the use of the name used by the Washington NFL football team.
For over twenty years, NARF has publicly denounced use of the name, supporting and participating directly in various legislative and litigation efforts to put an end to use of this offensive name.  "Race-based stereotyping and behaviors in sports persist today," said John Echohawk, NARF's Executive Director, "including, in particular, the racially derogatory name of the 'Washington Redskins' professional football organization.  NARF has long worked, and will continue to work, to put an end to this racial slur masquerading as a team name."

Having been publicly known as NARF for over 40 years, NARF's superior legal rights to use its name and trademarks (and to exclude others from doing so) cannot be questioned, and NARF will use all means available to protect its name from misappropriation by others.  Legal counsel representing NARF have sent cease-and-desist letters demanding a halt to this infringement on a website misappropriating its “NARF” trademark, and reserving NARF’s rights to take legal action.

Founded in 1970, the Native American Rights Fund is the national Indian legal defense fund dedicated to asserting and defending the rights of Indian tribes, organizations and individuals nationwide.  NARF’s legal advocacy is concentrated in five priority areas: the preservation of tribal existence; the protection of tribal natural resources; the promotion of Native American human rights; the accountability of governments to Native Americans; and the development of Indian law and educating the public about Indian rights, laws, and issues.  See our website — www.narf.org.