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‘Redskins’ question in 2004 Annenberg study cited anew in controversy

A 2004 National Annenberg Election Survey question on whether the name of the Washington Redskins is offensive to Native Americans is in the news amid renewed national debate over whether the pro football team should change its name. In a letter to fans published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, Oct. 9, team owner Daniel Snyder cited the survey as key evidence in support of the name. “The highly respected Annenberg Public Policy Center polled nearly 1,000 self-identified Native Americans from across the continental U.S. and found that 90% of Native Americans did not find the team name ‘Washington Redskins’ to be ‘offensive,’ ” Snyder wrote.


In the 2004 survey, the question was asked of 768 self-identified Indians or Native Americans. Nine percent said they found the name offensive. The poll included data from Oct. 7, 2003 through Sept. 20, 2004. For more on the survey click here, and for the original news release, click here.


Adam Clymer, political director of the survey in 2004 and former chief Washington correspondent for the New York Times, said the size of the survey made it possible to find out what American Indians thought about the question. “Every year there would be some degree of controversy over the name of the Washington Redskins. People would say, Indians thought this or, no, they didn’t. I knew we had a big enough survey so that even with the tiny percentage of Native Americans who responded we’d have enough to talk about.”


For more news coverage on the controversy and survey:


Redskins owner Dan Snyder makes visits to Indian Country amid name-change pressure (Washington Post, Dec. 21, 2013)

How many Native Americans think ‘Redskins’ is a slur? (CBS DC, Oct. 8, 2013)

Dan Snyder to Native Americans: We’re Cool, Right? Native Americans to Dan Snyder: [Redacted]  (Mother Jones, Oct. 10, 2013)

Dan Snyder defends ‘Redskins’ (, Oct. 10, 2013)

Dan Snyder defends Redskins name, cites ‘heritage’ (USA Today, Oct. 9, 2013)

Oneida Indian Nation invites Snyder to explain his position to Native Americans directly (ProFootballTalk – NBC Sports, Oct. 9, 2013)

Snyder defends Redskins name in emotional letter to fans (Washington Post, Oct. 9, 2013)

As debate over ‘Redskins’ name intensifies, hard to tell how many Indians think it’s a slur (Associated Press, Oct. 8, 2013)

Native Americans Tackle Redskins at Press Conference (, Oct. 8, 2013)

Obama suggests Redskins name change; team’s lawyer responds defiantly (Sports Illustrated, Oct. 5, 2013)

NFL of a controversy: Return of the Redskins debate (Metro (U.K.), Sept. 30, 2013)