Native groups have protesting Washington NFL team’s name for decades
WASHINGTON—Dan Snyder, the owner of the Washington National Football League team, has announced the creation of the Original Americans Foundation.
Snyder has been under tremendous pressure in recent months to change the name from the R-word, which is comparable to the N-word among African Americans. Even President Obama weighed in last fall and said if he owned the team, he would change the name.
The new foundation’s mission is to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities.
Snyder’s announcement was made in a four-page letter addressed to “Everyone in Our R-word Nation.”
“With open arms and determined minds, we will work as partners to begin to tackle the troubling realities facing so many tribes across our country. Our efforts will address the urgent challenges plaguing Indian country based on what Tribal leaders tell us they need most. We may have created this new organization, but the direction of the Foundation is truly theirs,” the letter continues.
Snyder alluded to the fact he had visited some tribes in the southwest, whose leadership was supposedly in favor of the Washington retaining its name.
Snyder did not mention how much money has been committed to the new organization, nor whether or not he personally or his team has given any funds to sustain the foundation.
The National Congress of American Indians was quick to react to Snyder’s announcement. The country’s oldest American Indian organization issued the following statement late Tuesday morning, March 25, 2014:
“The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is encouraged to see that after decades of insisting their team name supposedly honors Indian Country, the Washington, DC football team’s owner is dedicating time and resources to the challenges facing tribal nations.
However, this Foundation will only contribute to the problems in Indian Country if it does not also address the very real issue of how Native people are consistently stereotyped, caricaturized, and denigrated by mascot imagery and the use of the R-word slur. For Mr. Snyder and the Foundation to truly support and partner with Indian Country, they must first change the name of the DC team and prove that the creation of this organization isn’t just a publicity stunt.”
LINK to Announcement: http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap2000000336553/article/washington-redskins-announce-original-americans-foundation