Reading Red Report

The Native American Journalists Association has long held the stance that mascots and team names derived from Native Mascot_substitutepeoples are inherently racist. These images, names and logos reinforce stereotypes of Native Americans, which then act as a replacement for the accurate and authentic portrayal of Native people and communities. This replacement “disappears” contemporary Native Americans in the broader fabric of society, making it more difficult to address the real issues confronting Indian Country.

In 2014, the US Patent and Trademark Office canceled trademark registrations that it deemed disparaging to “a substantial composite” of Native Americans. Webster’s New World College Dictionary has also labeled the term “Redskins” as a pejorative.

NAJA demands that all media outlets treat these images, names and logos in the same manner as other racist terms. We encourage our colleagues in mainstream media to refer to the SPJ Code of Ethics, the AP Stylebook and this NAJA opinion for guidance when presented with an editorial choice to represent Native mascots to their audiences.

For further guidance, please refer to the Reading Red Reports published by NAJA in 2003 and 2007, as well as select research listed below.


Reading Red Report 2003.
Prepared by Kara Briggs, former NAJA president, and Dan Lewerenz, NAJA board member.

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Reading Red Report 2007.
Written by Cristina L. Azocar, Director, Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism, San Francisco State University.

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The American Psychological Association Resolution Recommending the Immediate Retirement of American Indian Mascots.

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Colorado Governor's Commission to Study American Indian Representations in Public Schools.

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Journal of Consumer Psychology, Corrected proof. doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2016.03.004
Activating stereotypes with brand imagery.
J. W. Angle, S. W. Dagogo-Jack, M. R. Forehand, A. W. Perkins.

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Members of Congress Urge Snyder and the NFL to Change the Washington Team's Name.

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