In June, after the U.S. Patent and Trademark office stripped the Washington football team of six of its trademarks, Ojibwe graphic designer Ashley Fairbanks immediately decided she’d print shirts and other items with the word ‘Racist’ under the team’s Indian head logo and then donate the proceeds.
“When they lost the trademark, I used my graphic skills to react,” she told ICTMN, adding she wanted whatever she designed to be frank and blunt. “Images like that logo perpetuates stereotypes that hold Native people down. [It’s] the continuing dehumanization of Native people.”
Fairbanks, a graduate of the University of Minnesota who owns the design firm Ziibiing Creative, had gone to several local screen-printing shops in her hometown of Minneapolis hoping someone would take the order. She said some of the proprietors found the design too political. “They didn’t want to be involved,” she said. “I’ll never screen-print with those people ever again.”
Fairbanks said she hasn’t received significant opposition to the shirt, but she said online bouts will oft ensue when her friends share the image of the shirt on their Facebook pages.
Washington football team owner Dan Snyder recently countersued the five Native Americans who won the case against him, arguing the court flubbed when it ruled the team name is “disparaging to Native Americans.” Snyder said he will “NEVER” change the name.
Amanda Blackhorse, the lead plaintiff, and the other plaintiffs recently filed a motion asking the court to throw out Snyder’s case against them.
“He really feels threatened by the showing of power from Native folks and our allies who call to change the name,” Fairbanks said. “[His countersuit is] an acknowledgment of all the hard work that’s being done toward changing the name.”