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Penobscot Nation Ambassador Hails Washington 'Redskins' Decision To Change Name

Maine Public/file
Penobscot Nation Ambassador Maulian Dana speaks to the school board for MSAD 54 in Skowhegan Dec. 6, 2018. School officials eventually agreed to retire the school's "Indians" mascot.

Washington's NFL team is shedding the "Redskins'' name and logo after recent pressure from sponsors and decades of criticism that they are offensive to Native Americans.The change comes less than two weeks after team owner Dan Snyder launched an organizational review of the name.

Penobscot Nation Ambassador Maulian Dana is hailing the change. She says after decades of activism by Indigenous leaders and allies, what finally led to the change was awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement, "and how we are seeing representations of race and stereotypes as harmful, and as having impact on human behavior and policy."

Dana acknowledges the significance of major corporations, such as FedEx, Nike and PepsiCo, in pushing for the name change.

"Money certainly talks," she says. "We saw a lot of these huge corporations stepping back from the franchise and now wanting to sell their merchandise, and I think that that sent a clear message."

A new name has yet to be announced.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.