Navajo language is in, racist language towards Native Americans is out

photo-1Things aren’t going so great these days when it comes to representations of Native Americans in mainstream media: the Washington Redskins’ are still refusing point blank to change their very racist name. Jamilah King over at Colorlines points out that, 

“[This] is just one example of how the culture of football is still tied to a deeply problematic American history. For all of its supposed inclusion—the pink breast cancer awareness gear, its growing female fan base, the “It Gets Better” videos—American football is a game founded on and maintained by racial exclusivity. The sport that America loves is much like the the country itself: ostentatious, violent, and for millions, a home. [Team owner Daniel] Synder knows this. And he’s risking millions of dollars, a legal battle, and countless eye rolls to prove that tradition is more important than racial justice.”

But today, there is a little sliver of good news to keep you inspired. According to Native Appropriations, the Canadian Apple app store has now censored the word redskin by using asterisks within its search results. Unfortunately, this is only within Canada’s app store, and the store has not eliminated any of the apps that choose to use the word.

As the 100% First Nations owned and operated apps store Ogoki Learning Systems points out, the term actually violates  iTunes policy on Apps, which states that “Apps containing references or commentary about a religious, cultural or ethnic group that are defamatory, offensive, mean-spirited or likely to expose the targeted group to harm or violence will be rejected.” 

This may seem like a minor success in the face of all the struggles we still face, it’s something, and I’m taking it. And I’m not the only one. Ogoki Learning Systems stated that,

“We as Native American App developers rejoice at the decision by Apple to BAN the term “Redskin” from their Canadian App Store.We as First Nation App developers applaud Apple Inc. in taking a stand and recognizing that Native Americans and First Nation people are not ‘Redskins’. We are a distinct people with the same rights as we afford to every man woman and child who set foot on this earth.”

And Native Appropriations writes, “I hope we can agree that this is HUGE. It might seem like something minor or purely symbolic, but this is Apple we’re talking about.”

In other exciting and phone-related news, Navajo is now an available language on the Android. 

Small victories y’all, but victories nonetheless.

Bay Area, California

Juliana is a digital storyteller for social change. As a writer at Feministing since 2013, her work has focused on women's movements throughout the Americas for environmental justice, immigrant rights, and reproductive justice. In addition to her writing, Juliana is a Senior Campaigner at, where she works to close the gap between the powerful and everyone else by supporting people from across the country to launch, escalate and win their campaigns for justice.

Juliana is a Latina feminist writer and campaigner based in the Bay Area.

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