To the editor: Jack Shakely, a Muscogee/Creek Indian, no doubt writes with honesty and with a respect for the culture from which he comes. Braves, Indians and eagle-feathered logos are fine with me too. When it comes to the R word, however, I am not as adamantly opposed to it as he is. ("The problem with the 'R' word? A Muskogee/Creek Indian explains it all for you," Op-Ed, Oct. 8)
Does he really think that no Indian thinks of himself as a "redskin"? Let's examine that.
For those who don't know, the city of Red Mesa, Ariz., lies along U.S. Highway 160 on the Navajo Nation reservation. The local high school stands prominently along the roadside with large, proud signage. The school boasts that it is the "home of the Redskins."
At least for the thousands of Native Americans who are no less Indian than Shakely is and are living within the range of this high school, the R word signifies some pride in who they are. What does he think of that?
Dick Campbell, Laguna Niguel
To the editor: In 1981, after 50 years as the Chinks, Pekin High School in Illinois finally got around to getting rid of its team name and its buck-toothed coolie mascot. Since then, others have followed suit.
Akron, Ohio's East High School teams are no longer dubbed the Orientals. The Wahpeton, N.D., high school teams are no longer the Wops.
My grandfather was a rabid Washington Redskins fan until the day he died. Like most fans, his allegiance was based primarily on geography — a lifetime spent in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia. It's a pretty good bet that had the team name changed when my grandfather was alive, he would not have started rooting for the Dallas Cowboys or the New York Giants.
If the name's pejorative, change it.
Ken Wilson, Valley Village
To the editor: I think the problem with the R word can be easily fixed: Keep the name but change the logo to a red skin potato.
Tom Burke, Fontana