Is This Redsk*ns Defender a Phony?

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown October 12th, 2014 Last Updated on: October 12th, 2014

It wouldn't be the first time NFL team owner Dan Snyder has trotted out a “real” Native to support his cause to keep the name, only to be found out later they were a fake. Last year Deadspin ran an article about Chief Dodson, who was portrayed as “a full-blooded American Inuit chief originally from the Aleutian Tribes of Alaska”. The terminology of that statement was all wrong and that's what led people into investigating his origins.

Alex Brandon/AP

Alex Brandon/AP


Now a new name defender's background is coming into question, Mark One Wolf. Dave Mckenna with Deadspin investigates the claim in his article. Below is an excerpt.

Public records show he was born Mark E. Yancey in 1973 in Washington D.C. He calls himself Mark Suzuki on online résumés. He's passed himself off as Mark Yan here and there and used that handle in comment sections wherever the name was being debated. He had a MySpace page using Kram Yecnay. The Redskins Facts organization ID'd him as Mark One Wolf, while he often contracts the surname by one character to OneWolf. And he touted the team's name on Facebook pages, including the Redskins Facts site, as “Mark Yazzie.” At least two of his Facebook pages— “Mark Yazzie” and “Mark OneWolf”— have been terminated for using pseudonyms. Of late, he has been going by Dalaa Ba'Cho.

His alleged tribal affiliations appear to be extremely malleable, too. Yancey watchers say that earlier this year One Wolf was calling himself a Cherokee while backing Snyder's naming rights on the message boards at powwows.com, a clearinghouse for Native issues. “He changed that when I called him out on it,” says Vanlandingham. On that same site, Yancey/One Wolf now ID's himself as DaLaa Ba'Cho and lists his affiliation as “Chiricahua Apache/Mexica.” North Carolina court records from 2007 (dug up by my colleague Diana Moskovitz) list him as “Native American/Alaskan.” His recent use of “Mark Yazzie” as his internet handle suggested to those familiar with native ways that he was trying to pass as Navajo. Turns out “Yazzie” is the “Smith” or “Jones” of that tribe; 18 of the approximately 300 Navajo Code Talkers recognized by Congress in 2011—including William Yazzie, a member of the original 29 Code Talkers and a Congressional Gold Medal recipient—had that surname. (The Redskins trotted out a quartet of Navajo Code Talkers in team gear during a Monday Night Football broadcast in November 2013 while the name debate was at a slower boil.)

“When he was calling himself ‘Mark Yazzie,' and saying he's Apache, that showed he doesn't do his research very well,” says Keeler, who adds that she is enrolled in the Navajo tribe. “If you're going to fake it, make it believable.”

And “Mexica”?

“‘Mexica' is not a tribe,” says Ray Ramirez of the Native American Rights Fund, a Colorado group that began fighting against Indian-themed team mascots soon after its 1970 founding. “It's a word that's used to refer to mixed breeds between Spanish and Indian blood. You see that word used when people don't have a tribe.”

Eugene Herrod of the Southern California Indian Center (SCIC), who admits he has been monitoring Yancey's pro-name campaigning since last year, says there are two criteria generally used to identify natives: enrollment in a federally recognized tribe or “some sort of cultural relevance, such as being brought up in a native environment such as a reservation.”

So his claim of being Chiricahua Apache wouldn't fly with the SCIC, either. The greatest and most mythologized Indian warrior of them all, Geronimo, also identified himself as a Chiricahua Apache. But the U.S. government, which captured Geronimo in the late 19th century on the way to committing genocide against his people, no longer recognizes such a tribe. There is now only a website at ChiricahuaApache.org for a 501(c)(3) organization that offers membership to folks who fill out a form and pay $5 membership fee.

Herrod says that he's traced the Yancey family back a few generations and finds lots of African-American blood and some Asian, but no native blood and no branch on the family tree that ever got anywhere near any Indian reservation. Yancey's parents are both listed as alumni of Spingarn High School in Washington D.C., located right across Benning Road NE from the local NFL team's former home, RFK Stadium.

“For all that he says he is, there is not one single tribe that claims him,” Herrod says. “Nobody knows who he is. Everything we've found about him and his parents indicates that they identify as African American. As far as I can tell, I think he's read a lot about Indians, but that doesn't make him an Indian.”

The article gets even more in-depth, and One Wolf has an explanation for everything written above. But a lot of Natives aren't buying his story. For more details keep reading over at Deadspin.

Home » Native American Articles » Native American Culture » Is This Redsk*ns Defender a Phony?

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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How educated is this Mr. Ray Ramirez?
Mexica is not a mix of Spanish and Indigenous blood!
The Mexica were a Nahua people who founded the cities of Tenochtitlan and Tlatelolco at around between 1000AD-1200AD. Almost 400 years before the Spanish arrived! Over 1million Mexica survive today still speaking the classic Nahuatl language. More than half are of pure blood not mix.

Normandie Kent

You are right! The Mexica were Nuhua and still exist. I think the Author of the artical means ” Mestizo”, which is a mix between Native American and European. This was a rookie mistake and it ruins the whole piece!!

Asdzaa Happy

Daalaa Ba’cho should be Dola Ba’cha which mean “bullshit” in Navajo. Lol!!!


mexica is not a tribe it is a people not no muther effin mixed breeds they are the peoples of mexico get the eff outah here with that bull Ray Ramirez also needs to do some research

Delilah Nichols

I live less than 50 miles from the Chiricahua Apache reservation, and there is no “Mexica” anywhere on that rez or in their name on any sign coming into, going out of the rez nor any establishment there. In fact, I do not believe that I have ever heard anyone refer to themselves like that, including those who have Mexican ancestry as well. This guy is full of it. 🙁

Nicole smith

I was raised the native way my great grandmother was full blooded Cherokee and “married” a white man adapting to the whites ways. I would never even consider claiming I was Cherokee because not enough of the Cherokee blood runs through my veins. Although I do dance and practice the native way to this day because I want to honor my relations. Might I add her “marriage” happened about the same time as the trail of tears. Please do not assume all people claiming native are like this man as I would never ask for money even if I did look remotely like my ancestors which I do not.

GL Lindsay

“Chief Dodson” is delusional. He’s never even been to Alaska. We don’t have “chiefs” in Alaskan villages. Now he is selling himself as Eagle Bear or some stupid crap. He is Aleut, but he is less than 1/4, the rest is pure white European. I don’t understand why he is going around spreading the lies that he’s telling, but trust me when I say, he is not as he has tried to sell himself. How do I know so much about the fraud? I’m his uncle. I raised him from the time he was seven months old ton one year when my older brother, his uncle, adopted him after his mother abandoned him, dumping him on me and then split, no forwarding address given. I love that kid with all of my heart, but he needs therapy. He’s just like his mother, if his lips are moving, he’s usually lying.

ann Souza

There are many wannabe’s now of every hue. The w’s benefit the most given they are from the majority group. They become Native /Indian when it is profitable.

Lynn Armede

From a “minority” group? Go ahead and say Black ann. Yes, this guy is an a$$, but so are bigots. If you are white and claim Native Blood, you are embraced by the Native community. The Indian community needs to take a look at it’s racism. If your white – it’s alright, if your brown – stick aroun, but if your black – betta jump back.

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