Alaska News

Southeast Alaska tribal group targets FedEx in Washington Redskins boycott

JUNEAU -- A major Alaska tribal group is boycotting one of the state's top employers, hoping to pressure the Washington Redskins to change the team name, which they find disparaging.

The Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska announced Thursday it has told tribal employees to stop using FedEx, the global courier service.

FedEx is an important sponsor of the Washington Redskins, who play at FedEx Field in Maryland.

It is also an important employer in Alaska, with more than 1,000 employees at its hub at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.

The tribal group, which represents Alaska Natives in Southeast, said in a prepared statement it hopes the action will encourage FedEx to reconsider its sponsorship of an NFL team that remains obstinate and insensitive to Native Americans. The decision was made by the tribal council earlier this week.

"The marketing partnership between FedEx and the NFL team continues to promote an offensive term used during a deplorable and inhumane period in our history suffered by the ancestors of our American Indian brothers and sisters," said Richard Peterson, president of the tribe.

The council's statement said the derogatory term is "derived from a horrific former practice of removing the skin of Native people for the purpose of collecting bounties."

The group joins several other tribes and organizations that have already taken the step, including the Native American Rights Fund and the Osage Nation of Oklahoma.