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  • Karla Trippe

Picking the Right Name

During this season of Vanderpunmp Rules, there were many discussions about the name of the two Tom’s new club. It’s actually a notable example of the wrong way to approach position, messaging and naming, the brand strategy for any new organization. In comparison was the wives pitch of their new sandwich shop. I mention this as the Washington DC football franchise announced their new name – the Commandos which, as a naming expert I thought was well played.


But now the Native American community has turned its focus on other teams including the Kansas City Chiefs. Being a native of that city and a Shamanic practitioner, I have to ask whether it’s the right thing to do. My family has a long history in Kansas as we were settlers of Sharon Springs. Given the background of the area, is Chiefs a negative name? Certainly, our country has a terrible history of native practices which we have not taken full responsibility for. But a chief is a name with strength and importance. Is removal the right course? Or is celebration better?


I would like to see the franchise honor those who rightly held that title. Shouldn’t there be education and financial support of the tribes as part of using the name? Is not this a better request than removal? I agree that the idea of “redskin” should be banished. But our Native American history should be cherished. Just as we are celebrating Black History month shouldn’t we put the same emphasis on the many tribes by honoring the people and their culture?


Naming rights is a common branding practice that a former president uses extensively. Wouldn’t it be better to negotiate for rights to a name with required monies and activities that support the Native American community? I am never one for leaving money on the table. I would like to see the community consider a different approach than just demanding a team changes its name. Brand power is valuable. I suggest taking advantage of it.

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