NFL team claims ex-NCAI president designed Indian head logo

The logo for the Change the Mascot campaign

The Washington NFL team claims a former president of the National Congress of American Indians helped design the Indian head logo that the organization now says should be eliminated.

In a letter to Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the Senate majority leader, the team says the late Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, who served as chairman of the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, was part of a group of tribal leaders who "designed and approved" the Indian head logo. This appears to be the first time the team has made such a claim in an official letter.

The letter says the logo was "designed and approved" in 1971. At the time Wetzel was no longer president of NCAI -- he served from 1960 through 1964.

Riggo's Rag, a fan site, claims it was the team who came up with the logo based on photos provided by Wetzel. The Blackfeet leader only "approved" the design, according to the site.

Wetzel's son, however, claims it was his father who proposed the logo. “He did it the right way,” Don Wetzel told The Great Falls Tribune in February.

Walter Wetzel died in 2003. He was 88.

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