2000 - California DMV Cancellation of "Redskin" License Plate

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American Indians. She believes that the term's use reflects ignorance of American Indians, but at worst, use of the word "redskin" expresses hostility and racism towards the aboriginal people of the Western Hemisphere. Ms Starr represents that the native impact of the term is particularly acute in the context of license plates because such plates are in the public eye and are sanctioned by the State of California.

Duane Champagne, in his declaration, dated February 7, 2000, declares that he is a member of the Turtle Mountain Bank of Chippewa Indians of North Dakota. He states that the first use of the term "redskin" appeared in a derogatory context as long ago as 1699. He cites a historical text that set forth: "Ye First Meeting House was solid mayde to withstande ye wicked onsaults of ye Red Skins." Mr. Champagne observes that rather than the term "redskin" denoting a sacred or practical dimension for the word, the current majority culture in this country has an understanding and use of "redskin" that denotes racial differences and racial classification according to skin hue or color. Mr. Champagne, who represents that he holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University, declares that the term "redskin" is derogatory, offensive, not in good taste, a term of contempt, insulting and a racially and ethnically degrading word.

Joan Weibel-Orlando, in a declaration, dated February 9, 2000, states that she is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern

California. She holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from UCLA. Since 1973 she has worked with many Native American communities, including the Navajo, Hopi, Cherokee, Creek, Seminole, Chickasaw, and Choctaw peoples. She represents that she has authored numerous articles and written a book on Native American life. Ms Weibel-Orlando points out that the term "redskin" has a racist connotation that is offensive and hurtful to Native Americans.

10. The parties reliance upon dictionary definitions of the term "redskin" is in conflict. Use of the dictionary definitions does not fully resolve the controversy.

Complainant shows that the Merriam- Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition,3 defines "redskin" as: "n [noun] (1699): AMERICAN INDIAN - [usually] taken to be offensive." Also, complainant produces the Random House College Dictionary, 4 Revised Edition that defines the term as "n [noun]. Often Offensive. A North American Indian."

Respondent offers a definition of "redskin" from the Oxford Universal Dictionary on Historical Principals5 as "(1699) A North American Indian."

The Webster's Third New International Dictionary of the English Language, 6 Unabridged shows a definition of "redskin" as "a North American Indian."

3 Copyright 1993.
4 Copyright 1984.
Copyright 1955.
Copyright 1968.



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