Indian nicknames have, in the past decade, become issues. Macalester College students, bless their hearts, protested Ted Turner coming to their campus because he espoused racial equality, but allowed the Brave Cartoon mascot to exist.
The stupids in the media in the Twin Cities reacted with confusion at the time: "Here's a billionaire so liberal that he'll fuck Jane Fonda and raise money for the Democrats, but simply because he won't rid his baseball franchise of racist iconography, a bunch of rich white liberal kids don't want him to speak at their graduation."
Seeing as I got Takaki, I can understand their disappointment.
According to some people, the term Redskin was an honorific as early as 1930, and certainly not laced with ethnic cleansing. Those ideas came later, they argue. Redskin, when it was first applied, was not insulting. "We honor their legacy," some people say. We honor elements of The Native American tradition, while we sadly lament that they couldn't be assimiliated. You sometimes hear that argument today, even. "We honor the legacy of the Native Americans, we apologize for taking their land, and occasional success story/casino shows we are righting wrongs."
It is an old, old, argument.
In fact, it was made, back in 1890, by an obscure editorialist working out of what was then the Far Western border of the United States. See if he doesn't capture, way back when, the duality of racism/respect for Native Americans way back when. With the death of Sitting Bull, he argues that:
With his fall the nobility of the Redskin is extinguished, and what few are left are a pack of whining curs who lick the hand that smites them. The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are. History would forget these latter despicable beings, and speak, in later ages of the glory of these grand Kings of forest and plain that Cooper loved to heroism.
We cannot honestly regret their extermination, but we at least do justice to the manly characteristics possessed, according to their lights and education, by the early Redskins of America.
That's What Redskin means. According to L. Frank Baum. Yes, that L Frank Baum. Manly, tough, but slowly, surely, lesser than Whites.
It meant that in 1890, it meant that in 1930, certainly. Proud Warriors who would fight, fight, fight, thus. their extermination is necessary.
End of Story, as to what Redskin meant, and means.