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NCAI calls foundation a 'publicity stunt' by football team owner

Filed Under: National | Sports
More on: dc, football, mascots, ncai, racism, redskins

YouTube: NCAI Campaign: Proud To Be

The National Congress of American Indians said a foundation created by the owner of the Washington professional football team is nothing more than a "publicity stunt" unless the racist mascot goes away too.

At NCAI's winter meeting in Washington, D.C. earlier this month, tribal leaders and members of Congress urged owner Dan Snyder to eliminate the offensive name. Rather than heed the call, he announced the "Original Americans Foundation" to combat social problems facing American Indians and Alaska Natives.

But the new 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," NCAI said in a statement.

The Oneida Nation of New York also criticized Snyder's move. The tribe is leading the Change the Mascot movement.

“We’re glad that after a decade of owning the Washington team, Mr. Snyder is finally interested in Native American heritage, and we are hopeful that when his team finally stands on the right side of history and changes its name, he will honor the commitments to Native Americans that he is making," Ray Halbritter, the tribe's representative, said in a press release.

"We are also hopeful that in his new initiative to honor Native Americans’ struggle, Mr. Snyder makes sure people do not forget that he and his predecessor George Preston Marshall, a famous segregationist, have made our people’s lives so much more difficult by using a racial slur as the Washington team’s name," Halbritter added.

Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minnesota), the co-chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, said Snyder was trying to "buy the silence" of critics of the mascot.

"The NFL and its Washington franchise’s legacy of exploitation of Native American identity is real as has been noted by tribal leaders, national Native American organizations, journalists, and Members of Congress," McCollum said in a statement. Dan Snyder should immediately change the racist name of his NFL team and then commit a portion of his profits to addressing the issues facing Native American communities across the country.”

Also Today:
Marc Tracy: Dan Snyder Acknowledges Existence of People He Prefers to Slur (The New Republic 3/25)
Chris Strauss: Daniel Snyder's philanthropy serves himself, not Native Americans (USA Today 3/25)
Dan Snyder's Latest Charity Stunt Is a Noble Distraction (DCist 3/25)

Related Stories:
Football team owner announces 'Original Americans Foundation' (3/25)
NPR Ombudsman: Limit use of Washington football team name (03/21)
Dine Medicine Men Association opposes racist football mascot (03/18)
DaShanne Stokes: Racist Americans cling to football mascot (3/17)
Navajo Nation leaders speak out against 'disparaging' mascots (3/14)
Bill in Maryland urges new name for Washington football team (3/12)
Jacqueline Keeler: Peter MacDonald doesn't speak for Navajos (3/11)

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