Banning American Indian Names in the U.S. Military

Recently the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office canceled the Washington Redskins trademarks on the claiming the name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” This effort was largely sparked by Nevada’s Senator Harry Reid.

His support of banning ‘Native American’ names from our general lexicon is leading to a new dilemma, this one over the use of such names in the U.S. military. In a Washington Post opinion piece last Thursday, Boston Review’s managing editor Simon Waxman lamented:

“In the United States today, the names Apache, Comanche, Chinook, Lakota, Cheyenne and Kiowa apply not only to Indian tribes but also to military helicopters. Add in the Black Hawk, named for a leader of the Sauk tribe. Then there is the Tomahawk, a low-altitude missile, and a drone named for an Indian chief, Gray Eagle. Operation Geronimo was the end of Osama bin Laden.”

“Why do we name our battles and weapons after people we have vanquished? For the same reason the Washington team is the Redskins and my hometown Red Sox go to Cleveland to play the Indians and to Atlanta to play the Braves: because the myth of the worthy native adversary is more palatable than the reality — the conquered tribes of this land were not rivals but victims, cheated and impossibly outgunned.”

“The destruction of the Indians was asymmetric war, compounded by deviousness in the name of imperialist manifest destiny. White America shot, imprisoned, lied, swindled, preached, bought, built and voted its way to domination. Identifying our powerful weapons and victorious campaigns with those we subjugated serves to lighten the burden of our guilt. It confuses violation with a fair fight.”

Time again, it’s been claimed that Harry Reid is an ardent supporter of our U.S. military.

“In my experience, no one has supported the military in Nevada more effectively than Senator Reid,” writes retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Harold Belote of ‘Veterans for Harry Reid.’

“I’m proud to stand with Harry Reid,” concludes Belote.


After seven U.S. Marines died last year during a night-time training exercise at the munitions depot in Hawthorne — the one he’s credited with saving — Reid decided he would use the tragedy to complain about sequestration.

“These men and women, our Marines were training there in Hawthorne,” Reid said from the Senate floor. “And with this sequester, it’s going to cut back. I just hope everyone understands the sacrifices made by our military. They are significant, being away from home, away from families, away from their country.”

That’s not support – that’s politicking. And since he started this politically correct mumbo-jumbo about ethnic slurs against American Indians, and he’s such a big fan of the military, Reid should ‘put up or shut up.’

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