Offended by the Redskins?: An Indian Country Twitter Poll.


As some of you know, The Washington Post recently ran a story on Thursday about a poll of 504 people which indicated that 90% of Native Americans are not offended by the Washington Redskins name.

Shortly after the article, I tweeted the hashtag #IAmNativeIWasNotAsked, which trended on Thursday night.


It’s true that some Native people say they are not offended by the Redskins name, but in my experience, they are rare. I have also been told on numerous occasions where I was asked to appear on television, online or on national radio to discuss the Redskins, the organizers and producers had an extremely difficult time finding a Native person who approved of the Redskins name.

The Washington Post says they spoke to a random selection of 504 Native American people. In a country with 566 federally recognized reservations (not including the Pamunkey up for Federal and the multitude of State or unrecognized tribes) this roughly equates to less than one person per federally recognized tribe.

According to the Post’s numbers, available here interestingly, the percentages reflected in 2016 are identical to the poll numbers from the National Annenberg Election Survey from 2004.

A Twitter Poll

I know this is not “scientific,” or acceptable standards for a national poll, but a simple Twitter poll I created Thursday evening at 11:59 pm est generated 200 responses in just a few hours. As of Friday afternoon, 83% of those people say they are offended by the Redskins name.

Full Article Here. Vincent Schilling talks about this specific issue in his ‘No I Won’t Just Move On’ Hashtag: Why I Made It, We Need It Column.


  1. dianne says

    I am never trusting a Washington Post poll again. That polling procedure was hideous! And that’s not counting the bits where they lied about their procedure, which, given the overall situation, I suspect they did.

  2. rq says

    Wow! What an incredible result! Wouldn’t ever have expected that!
    (I am honestly surprised by the first poll, that suggested that 90% are not offended. That’s some serious skew.

    the organizers and producers had an extremely difficult time finding a Native person who approved of the Redskins name

    If you can’t find ’em, redefine ’em (who qualified as Native for the purposes of the survey?).)

  3. dianne says

    who qualified as Native for the purposes of the survey?

    Literally anyone who answered the phone number the pollsters called and said that they were a Native. No, I’m not making this up. That was their methodology.

  4. dianne says

    Note that 56% couldn’t be bothered to make up a specific tribe that they belonged to. Or maybe that’s a little residual honesty. Or, heck, maybe everyone who answered was being honest according to their own beliefs and 56% of them called themselves Native based on some level of belief and/or evidence of native ancestry without any actual cultural link to said ethnic group and therefore believed that they were answering accurately. Nonetheless, it is my understanding that one can not call oneself Native without an affiliation with a specific tribe. (This is one reason I don’t call myself native despite my 1/16th genetic heritage from people who entered the Americas via the Bering Strait making me eligible for membership in most tribes…if at least 2 cultural genocides didn’t separate me from any knowledge of which tribe it was.)

  5. says

    Dianne @ 6:

    One of the first things noted by Dr. Keene was the lack of tribal affiliation:

    This is where I want to focus my attention: 56 percent of this “nationally representative sample of Native Americans” was non-Native. I need you to understand this. 56% of the sample has no tribal affiliation.

    Caveats, mostly for the Natives reading this: Yes, there are many pre-ICWA adoptees who don’t know their tribal affiliations. Many of those adoptees have been able to find their families and enroll in their tribes as well. Yes, there are an estimated 11,000 Natives who have been disenrolled from their tribal nations, and presumably would not have a tribal affiliation. Though, the Native peoples I’ve met in that situation have often made that clear to me “I’m XX tribe, but my family was disenrolled” (also this isn’t meant to dismiss the severity of the disenrollment issue. But that’s another post). Finally, with tribal enrollment policies varying, there are plenty of people who are unable to enroll in their tribes. But those folks often will still list a tribal affiliation when asked, or say they are a “descendant of XX nation.” Do these three groups make up 56% of Indian Country? Heck no. This is a small minority.

    The bottom line for me is this: In my entire life, I have never met a person, who primarily identifies as a Native American, who didn’t have a tribe.

    I have never once identified myself as ‘part NDN’ or ‘part NA’. It has always been half Oglala Lakota. Dr. Keene’s absolutely right about that -- Indians just don’t shrug off their tribal affiliation, it’s a core part of your identity.

  6. dianne says

    @Caine: An honest pollster would at least note that as a red flag for atypical results. The very fact that no one seems to have done so tells me that this was a poll designed to get a certain result, not a poll to determine the reality.

    I don’t think the dialing random phone numbers was a good technique for this particular poll either. It’s a reasonably method when you want to sample the US as a whole, but when you’re looking for people of a specific, relatively rare background, you need to be a little more focused or it’ll take forever to get an answer. Which is the alternate possibility: the pollsters ran out of time, money, or patience and simply went with the results they had rather than go back and do it right. In other words, it could be stupidity, not malice. But I doubt it.

  7. says


    it could be stupidity, not malice. But I doubt it.

    I think the whole thing was fixed from the start. They have been desperate to keep the offensive name and mascot, and are tired of Natives refusing to back down on the issue. I expect they thought this might have a chance at laying it all to rest.

  8. rq says

    I agree, definitely fixed. If they had wanted an honest result, they would have gone and done the real homework associated with such a poll. Esp. the obvious bit about tribal affiliation.

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