Inside the Red Mesa High School locker room, Ted Nugent's "Stranglehold" blared on the stereo as players hurried to strap on their helmets and gather for a pregame prayer and pep talk.
"This is your time, right?" the team's assistant coach demanded.
"Yes, sir!" the players shouted. "Redskins on three! Redskins on three! One, two, three, Redskins!"
The scene at this tiny, remote high school was as boisterous as it was remarkable: Nearly everyone on the field and in the bleachers belongs to the Navajo Nation. Most of the people in Red Mesa not only reject claims that their team's nickname is a slur, they have emerged as a potent symbol in the heated debate over the name of the more widely known Redskins — Washington's NFL team. More than half the school's 220 students eagerly accepted free tickets from the team for an Oct. 12 game near Phoenix, where they confronted Native American protesters who were there to condemn Washington's moniker.