Redskins embarrass themselves in an attempt to defend their name

chief dodsonIt seems like this entire offseason the Washington Redskins have been defending their name against the media and public in an effort to try and prove it’s not racist

Back in May, the Redskins had a guest on their show Redskins Nation, named Chief Dodson who claimed to be “a full-blooded American Inuit chief originally from the Aleutian Tribes of Alaska” who “represents more than 700 remaining tribe members,” via Deadspin.

Dodson came on the program and defended the Redskins by claiming that his people are honored by the Redskins’ name.

“Being a full-blooded Indian with my whole family behind me, we had a big problem with some of the things that were coming out [in the debate over the name],” he said. “I think they were basically saying that we were offended, our people were offended, and they were misrepresenting the Native American nation. We don’t have a problem with [the name] at all—in fact we’re honored. We’re quite honored.”

Dodson claimed that the indians he knows are fine with the term “redskins.”

“It’s actually a term of endearment that we would refer to each other as,” Dodson said. “When we were on the reservation, we’d call each other, ‘Hey, what’s up, redskin?’ We’d nickname it and call each other ‘Skins.’ We respected each other with that term. … It’s not degrading in one bit.”

This is where things get interesting.  It turns out that Dodson isn’t 100 percent Native American and isn’t a chief.

Below is a breakdown of Dodson’s true identity by Deadspin.

Alas, there’s a lot of evidence that Chief Dodson—whose real name is Stephen D. Dodson—ain’t the perfect pitchman that Snyder and Goodell want him to be. It turns out that the “full-blooded American Inuit chief” is neither a full-blooded American Inuit nor a chief in any formal sense of the term.

Let’s start with that last part. Apparently nobody but Dodson says Dodson’s really a chief. The work shirt from Charley’s Crane Services that Dodson wore on Redskins Nation had “Chief Dodson” stitched into it alongside the company’s name. But the only references I could find to Dodson and “Chief” that predate his appearance as “Redskin”-lovin’ aboriginal royalty appeared in court records in Maryland. Case files from some of Stephen D. Dodson’s scrapes with the law—involving theft, paternity, and domestic violence matters—have “Chief” listed as one of the defendant’s AKAs.

When Indian Country Today ran a story about the Redskins Nation appearance, a commenter purporting to be Dodson’s relative said that Dodson’s native bona fides had been exaggerated. The commenter said Dodson is not a full-blooded member of any tribe and is in fact one-quarter Aleut, not Inuit. And “Chief”? “[T]hat was his nickname,” the commenter wrote.

Carla Brueshaber, who identified herself as Dodson’s sister, said she had nothing to do with the Indian Country Today comment, but she confirmed that Dodson wasn’t as advertised on the Redskins program. “No, he’s not a chief, not technically. It’s a nickname,” said Brueshaber, now living in Bellefontaine, Ohio, where Dodson went to high school, according to his 2000 wedding announcement in the Morning Call of Allentown, Pa.

Asked why she thought Dodson was being portrayed by the Redskins and the NFL as an authentic Indian chief, Brueshaber said, “Somebody made a mistake and called him [Chief]. The Redskins went full steam ahead with it. They didn’t check it because it was helping them.”

The description of him used by the Redskins—”a full-blooded American Inuit chief originally from the Aleutian Tribes of Alaska”—rings false to folks who’ve studied the native peoples of that state.

“That is an archaic and incorrect expression: Aleut people and Inuit people are quite distinct and haven’t had a common ancestor for at least 6,000 years,” says Stephen Loring, an anthropologist with the Smithsonian Institute specializing in Arctic and subarctic archaeology and ethnohistory. “Somebody would say they are Aleut, or they would say they are Inuit.”

The phrase “full-blooded American Inuit chief originally from the Aleutian Tribes of Alaska,” Loring added, is “incorrect terminology. It doesn’t make sense.”

What’s more, both Kelly Eningowuk, executive director of the Inuit Circumpolar Council-Alaska, an Inuit group, and Larry Merculieff, a prominent advocate for Aleut issues in Alaska, said “Chief” isn’t a designation any of their constituents would use now. It certainly wouldn’t be used by someone who’s not living among Inuits or Aleuts. Both said such a title, if granted at all, would be conferred only upon individuals who were elected by people in their village. That would be tough in Bellefontaine (which, according to the 2010 U.S. Census, had a Native American population of 0.2 percent) or Prince George’s County (0.5 percent).

“I don’t know anybody out of state who describes themselves [as a chief],” Merculieff said.

Nor does Dodson’s self-description on the Redskins show as “a full-blooded Indian” pass the smell test.

“Aleuts do not call themselves ‘Indian,'” Merculieff said. “We are native Alaskans, but not Indian.”

And Inuits?

“Inuits don’t call themselves ‘Indian,'” said Eningowuk.

Eningowuk said she watched Dodson’s performance online and laughed at some of his references to native culture. “I heard him say that [he and his family] go to pow wows? That’s not Aleut or inuit,” she said. “And he talks about living on a reservation of some sort. There are no Inuit or Aleut reservations in Alaska.”

What of Dodson’s contention that Aleuts and/or Inuits regularly use “redskin” as a term of endearment? “I have never called anybody ‘redskin,'” Eningowuk said. “Nobody I know has ever called me ‘redskin.’ I have never heard any Inuit call somebody ‘redskin.'”

It really doesn’t come as a surprise to me that the Redskins ended up getting exposed in a stunt that ended up back firing on them.  This was a typical Dan Snyder move. He tried to make the name of his organization meaningful, when in reality it’s racist and needs to be changed.

  • Paco Martinez

    NO it is NOT racist. Sheeesh. I was at the grocery store and bought some mixed nuts–right next to the mixed nuts was a can of “REDSKINS” nuts. Are the nuts racist, too??
    This fanaticism of racism, sexism, etc, etc,Political Correctness B.S. has got to stop.
    I find it amazing that Mel Brooks was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award on national
    TV . a scene from the movie “Blazing Saddles” where the old woman says “UP your, N—word.” to the sheriff. Mel Brooks wrote the script. The actress was just reading her line.
    Now, I love Mel Brooks. I loved Blazing Saddles but why is it OK to play the n.word on national TV but if the woman chef Paula Deen admits she said N word in the past, all her sponsors bail out on her?? She was rejected by everyone!!
    The rap “artists” (I don’t listen to it) allegedly use the b word and the n word thruough their songs. What the heck.

    N=====word
    Red——–skin word.
    What has the world come to??
    Where is the freedom of speech: I know you can’t yell “Theater in a crowded fire house..” but the other nonsense is just that nonsense and B.S. it gives the’little people’ something to bitch about.

  • Wayne

    Writer of this story has way too much time on is hands. And who the hell are you to tell a race wat is or isn’t racist to them. Unless you ae an Indian I don’t care what your dumba$$ opinin is.

    • Paco Martinez

      NOT FOR FRED:
      Poor WAYNE; dropped out of school in the 3rd grade–can’t understand basic English.
      What I said, sir, was everybody is LOOKING for something to bitch about…Redskins have been around for 100 years? Year 2013 some GUY claiming Injun background wants this BILLION dollar team to change their name? Go pound sand and hey Injun boy, take idiot-child Wayne with you!!
      You know, the restaurant we went to yesterday served WHITE SAUCE — that’s racist to me, bub, and you better change it to a different name or I’m going to file a lawsuit claiming my civil rights were damaged because of their racist.
      Same with those CRACKERS i get with Wendy’s chili bowl.
      Get the picture NOW Wayne?
      Maybe your mommy can read it to you, ignorant twerp.

      One more thing: I do have time on my hands: I 63 y/o, USC grad,300# former footballer, retired with 4 (FOUR) pensions and you wouldn’t be talking smack to me if we were face to face.

    • Paco Martinez

      Poor WAYNE; dropped out of school in the 3rd grade–can’t understand basic English.
      What I said, sir, was everybody is LOOKING for something to gripe about…Redskins have been around for 100 years? Year 2013 some GUY claiming Injun background wants this BILLION dollar team to change their name? Go pound sand and “hey Injun boy, take idiot-child Wayne with you!!”
      You know, the restaurant we went to yesterday served WHITE sauce — that’s racist to me, bub, and you better change it to a different name or I’m going to file a lawsuit claiming my civil rights were damaged because of their racist.
      Same with those CRACKERS i get with Wendy’s chili bowl.

      Get the picture NOW Wayne?
      Maybe your mommy can read it to you, ignorant twerp.

      One more thing: I do have time on my hands: I 63 y/o, USC grad,300# former footballer, retired with 4 (FOUR) pensions and you wouldn’t be talking smack to me if we were face to face. B__

      ____urp!!

  • Fred Johnson

    He’s as much a 100% chief as Obama is a natural born citizen…

    • Fred Johnson

      Seriously, so much outrage over something so insignificant… and our country is meanwhile being run into the ground by thieves, liars and criminals. This issue is old, and needs to go away.

    • Paco Martinez

      “Chief”?? I thought he was a cook and it said “Chef” ??!!!! LOL

  • http://YARDBARKER larry

    I Guess all thats left to do is find about 700 African Americans who don’t have a problem with the “N” word and it will then be ok to use everywhere, even on an NFL team?

  • Dave

    We stole the native Americans land, placed them on reservations, broke every “treaty” and promise made, and we think respect and reparations lie in eliminating “Redskins” from an NFL football franchise name? Insane ! Political correctness has well overtaken common sense, This country is going to hell in a hand basket !

    • Paco Martinez

      Lighten up everybody!
      I’m going to put my right hand on top of my head, spread two fingers you know like feathers. Then with my left hand I’m going to go toward my mouth and away from my mouth rapidly while yelling: Who boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo who boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo boo !! Just like we did in grade school
      So HOW do you like those apples, DAVEY baby???.
      Yes, P.C. is bunk.

  • Paco Martinez

    the photo of the ‘chief’ is bogus; everyone know real native american males cannot grow facial hair (kind like the japanese ancestry) This phoney has a fu-manchu mustache = phoney, phoney, phoney.
    BAd injun, go to your tee-pee.