Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Department of Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Steve Schwarze

Commitee Members

Dave Beck, Alan Sillars


Redskins, Mascots, Synecdoche, Ideographs, Equality, Native Americans


University of Montana

Subject Categories

Indigenous Studies | Speech and Rhetorical Studies


This project looks at how synecdoche and ideographs function in the construction of competing position in the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins mascot. I examined the rhetoric produced by both the Washington Redskins organization and its fans, as well as the rhetoric of Change the Mascot, the Oneida Indian Nation of New York and other opponents between the years of 2013 and 2015. Based in part on Moore’s (1993, 1994, 1997) argument that synecdoche and ideographs often prevent resolution and produce irreconcilable conflict, I extend this notion insofar as the controversy surrounding the Redskins mascot appears to be shifted towards opponents position of over supporters’ claims of . This project examines how synecdoche can be used as a tool by rhetors to examine the challenges made by groups in such controversies against certain synecdochal relationships. Ultimately, this project suggests potential implications for the use of synecdoche and ideographs not only as tools for the skilled rhetor, but also how such theoretical perspectives may aid individuals and groups in denying the possibility of irreconcilable conflict. Furthermore, I explore what implications this project has for the larger discourse surrounding Native American mascot use including but not limited to the educational opportunities provided by the coverage of such controversies in the media.



© Copyright 2016 Eean Grimshaw