Eni Faleomavaega, the congressional delegate from American Samoa, took to the House floor yesterday to appeal to members on an issue of “great concern” for the federal government: removing the trademark protections from the Washington Redskins’ team name.
“This should have never have happened,” lamented Faleomavaega, who asserted the name’s origins are rooted in the practice of scalping Native Americans (the real etymology is a matter of dispute by historians and the team’s fans).
“This is not even about sports, this is a moral issue,” he said.
Much of Faleomavaega’s speech centered around Rush Limbaugh’s comments that the government should stay out of the issue, which the Samoan Democrat called an attempt “to wash away years of suffering, pain, and humiliation.”
Faleomavaega, who penned a Politico op-ed last week laying out similar points to those he made in his House remarks, has been on the forefront of the anti-Skins effort. He’s sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell as part of a Congressional Native American Caucus and is the lead sponsor on Non-Disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act, which would prevent the Redskins name from being trademark-protected.