Dan Snyder, The Redskins, and the Curse of the Chimariko

by Rich Rubenstein on December 13, 2014 · 3 comments

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Richard Rubenstein

As I sat before my TV set watching the Washington Redskins lose again, this time suffering an ignominious shutout at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals, I decided that enough was enough. Whatever innocent sports fans may think, the disastrous Redskins’ performance of the past few years is no accident. Before a poor season gives way to something worse, perhaps even to some lethal “accident,” it is time to tell what a few other scholars know about the real source of these shattering defeats.

I am an old man now – a college professor near the end of a long teaching career. But in my younger days I did field work among the Native Americans, especially on the Chimariko, a Northern California tribe that has since become extinct. One of its members, as aged then as I am now, showed me a faded editorial from a local newspaper, the Yreka Herald, that I remember to this day. The editorial demanded government aid to “enable the citizens of the north to carry on a war of extermination until the last redskin of these tribes has been killed.” “Extermination is no longer a question of time,” it continued. “The time has arrived, the work has commenced, and let the first man who says treaty or peace be regarded as a traitor.”

“The white men cursed us,” my native informant told me. “And so we cursed them.”

“What was the curse?” I asked.

“We sacrificed a perfect animal – a snow-white heifer – to the Great Spirit and declared that those who call us ‘redskins’ would never again know lasting success or happiness.”

I am a social scientist, not a believer in the supernatural. Yet, I can’t help asking why, after the millions poured into the Washington football team by owner Dan Snyder, a near-total revamp of managerial systems, heroic recruitment efforts, and dedicated efforts by the players themselves, the Redskins continue to suffer defeat after demoralizing defeat. The answer, I fear, lies in the mouth of owner Snyder, who stated last May, “We’ll never change the name. It’s that simple. NEVER — you can use caps!”

Here are some more caps, Mr. Snyder. BEWARE THE CURSE OF THE CHIMARIKO! This capital city bears a special responsibility for wars of extermination against indigenous peoples. I have a hunch that the curse will pursue us until the name of the team is finally changed.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Anje December 13, 2014 at 9:22 pm

LOLOL. Don’t believe a word of the curse but it makes funny reading. May they always be “cursed” for that name that they cling to.


Rich Rubenstein December 13, 2014 at 9:49 pm

Do you doubt my word as an anthroposophist? Shame on you! For the quote from the Yreka Herald, see https://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081215005233AA6YAgM


Fred December 14, 2014 at 5:02 am

I believe the curse came from the Cooke family. The karma for getting the team the way he did is for sure in play. It’s fairly obvious the NFL doesn’t really like him either. This act is getting old.


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