'This isn't enough': Western's Director of Indigenous Studies reacts to Washington NFL team's decision

Washington's NFL franchise announced Monday it will be changing its team name and logo.

Washington's NFL franchise announced Monday it will be retiring its team name and logo.

Washington's NFL team announced Monday they will be changing their team name and logo. The new name has yet to be announced. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

After 87 years as the "Redskins," the Washington NFL franchise announced Monday it would retire the name and logo after completing a thorough review. The name has been heavily cricitized as offensive to Native Americans.

Owner Dan Synder and coach Ron Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design. 

This will be the NFL's first name change since the late 1990s when the Tennessee Oilers became the Titans two seasons after moving from Houston.

Janice Forsyth, Director of Indigenous Studies at Western University, still believes there's work to be done.

"I think a lot of people will definitely applaud this as a win and I would agree in one sense as that it's a symbolic win and a really important one," she said.

"But at the same time, I think we can all agree that this isn't enough because it is symbolic. What is needed is systemic change because, fundamentally, that's what the Black Lives Matter movement and what the Indigenous rights movement is all about, is looking for systemic change," she added.

Forsyth, a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation, investigates the history of Indigenous physical activity and culture and how it can be used to understand the history of Indigenous-settler relations in Canada. 

Important for corporations to stand up 

It was the shipping company FedEx, whose CEO partly owns the team, that finally prompted the change. FedEx was the first sponsor to announce it had requested a new name.

Forsyth hopes that this gives other companies an incentive to take action. 

"A lot of the non-profits, especially the ones that are on the ground doing the front-line work, they're really struggling with finances and as more governments divulge responsibility onto corporations, I think it's really important for corporations to stand up and help fund these groups."

Corporations can also use their voice to lobby for better housing, health care and education, added Forsyth. 

"I think it's important that other organizations do the same and not just wait and see what happens with Washington. I have a funny feeling that they're probably using them as a test case," she said.

"If this really is a social consciousness raising moment, then step up and do something."