Last June, Deadspin’s Dave McKenna revealed that a man named Charley Dodson, claimed by the Washington NFL franchise to be a “full-blooded American Inuit chief originally from the Aleutian tribes of Alaska” who supported the team’s nickname, was not a chief in any technical sense and seemed to lack a basic understanding of either Aleut or Inuit culture and terminology. (Including but not limited to the fact that Aleuts and Inuit are different groups of people.) Now McKenna is back with a piece on Mark One Wolf, the founder of a group called Native American Redskins Fans, who’s been featured in a video made by lobbyists hired by the team. Given the Dodson incident—and the fact that Washington’s allegedly Native coach from the 1930s, Lone Star Dietz, was convicted of falsely claiming to be Indian in an attempt to dodge the draft—it will not surprise you that One Wolf has a hazy background.
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.
Yancey/OneWolf says his family identifies as Chiricahua Apache, though that tribe is not recognized by the government. (“Yazzie” is a common Navajo name, and other sources in the piece say Yancey has also claimed Shinnecock and Cherokee heritage.) An anti-nickname activist who spoke to Deadspin said he could find no evidence of Native ancestry among Yancey’s largely black and Asian relatives, and Yancey’s parents are both alumni of Spingarn High School in Washington D.C., which does not have a significant Native population.
Click here to read McKenna’s whole piece. (And click here to read a piece McKenna dug up about Princess Pale Moon, an allegedly Native woman who sang the national anthem at Washington games in the 1990s but was at one point kicked out of the United States’ World’s Fair delegation because she could not provide proof of her ancestry.)