This image is of William "Lone Star" Dietz, whose mother was a full blooded Sioux Indian. Dietz was the first coach of the Redskins football team, and it was in his honor that the football team was named "Redskins". He brought a number of Indian players with him to the team and they wore war paint and Indian bonnets at games.
How did it come to be that the football team in Washington DC is named "The Redskins"? Marc Fisher, Metro Columnist for the Washington Post, 2002, explained, writing that the official story is that when the Boston Braves football team left Braves Field to play at Fenway Park in 1933, the owner needed to find a new name for his squad.
He chose Redskins in honor of Lone Star Dietz, the team's coach and an Indian who often wore an eagle feather headdress, beaded deerskin jacket and buckskin moccasins. Dietz brought four to six -- accounts vary -- Indian players with him to Boston from the Haskell Indian School in Kansas, where he had coached for four years.Another version has the team being named for the white men who dressed up as Indians to stage the Boston Tea Party at the start of the American Revolution.
Whichever version is correct, "the reality is more benign than people on both sides of the fence are attributing to it," says sports historian and museum consultant Frank Ceresi. "The name was meant very, very positively."
The genesis may always remain murky ... . But it is clear that the Boston Redskins, who moved to Washington in 1937, sought to capitalize on their Indian players and coach: The team played wearing red war paint. And Indian players from the time considered the name and trappings an honor. From Boston Redskins 1932-1936:
"1933: Now led by Lone Star Dietz, a Native American Coach, the team moves to Fenway Park. With the move the team also undergoes a name change becoming the Boston Redskins. The Redskins would alternate wins and losses all season and would finish with a 5-5-2 record."For more information about William Lone Star Dietz including a picture of him in Indian dress, go here.
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