March 25, 2014

Indian country scorns Redskins foundation

The outrage over the announcement of Dan Snyder's Redskins foundation was swift and scathing:

Outrage in Indian Country as Redskins Owner Announces FoundationThe letter is rife with self-satisfaction and misdirection, repeatedly emphasizing all the wonderful ways the Redskins, through the Foundation, might help Indian country, with no mention of the elephant in the room: The widespread objection in Indian country to the team's name. For instance, here's another interesting tap dance, bolded and italicized as in the original:

"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."

Such willingness to let Indians say what is most beneficial for Indians does not, obviously, extend to his football team's name.
and:Backlash on Twitter from Natives, many of whom have been united by the #NotYourMascot hashtag, has been forceful.

Frank Waln ‏@FrankWaln
Dan Snyder is scum of the earth

Lauren Chief Elk ‏@ChiefElk
Countdown until "Dan Snyder is trying to help you and you guys aren't even grateful!"

Johnnie Jae ‏@johnniejae
Apparently visiting 26 of 300+ reservations & bribing 400 tribal leaders means we should bow to our new savior Dan Snyder #notyourmascot
Twitter Users Declare The Washington Redskins’ Latest PR Stunt A Disaster

Team owner Daniel Snyder wrote that he believes “even more firmly now” in the team’s name. The backlash against the NFL franchise continues.

By Dan Oshinsky
These tweets seemed to sum up the public consensus about the letter—and Snyder himself.

Roopika Risam @roopikarisam
Every time I get an email with the subject line "A Letter from Dan Snyder" I should just start making popcorn.

Jon Solomon @jonsol
It's 2014 and Redskins owner Dan Snyder has just learned that many Native Americans live very difficult lives.

Bobby Big Wheel @BobbyBigWheel
Dan Snyder wants to know how much money it'll take for you to let him be racist

Adrienne K. @NativeApprops
Dan Snyder is exploiting our pain and our poverty. Buying our silence. That's beyond effed up. #NotYourMascot

Dave Zirin @EdgeofSports
In his year of "listening" to Native Americans somehow Dan Snyder's Merry band missed every last tribal council that's called for change.

NCAI: True Support Of Indian Country Only Possible If DC Team Changes NameThe 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.
Two more Native opinions:

Latest nickname outreach is a step, but without a direction

By Mike Wise“It’s the old colonial playbook, divide and conquer,” she says by telephone from her home in Claremore, Okla. “He’s basically turning Native Americans against each other on this issue. He’s saying, ‘We’ll trade you coats and a backhoe for your silence on the name.’ It makes me sad. It makes me angry.”And:“I actually used to work in Indian education outreach at San Diego State and UCSD,” she said from her office in San Diego. “We all are trying to solve deeper issues in our communities. But this is nothing but a P.R. ploy. I’d really like to know, in dollar-for-dollar amounts, whether the money he’s donating is going to make it any easier for us to send our kids to school and not be called Redskin.

“By refusing to even acknowledge the people hurt by the name, he’s canceling out his own efforts. It feels so artificial to me.”
Dan Snyder and his OAF: A Trick Play That Is Fooling No OneSnyder could have expected some people would be skeptical of or offended by his attempt to pacify some Natives with money to justify holding on to his team's racist slur of a nickname. But did he expect that anyone would believe he is doing the right thing, for the right reasons? If so, he miscalculated.

Judging by commentary in the mainstream media and sportswriting blogosphere, nobody was fooled. The formation of the Original Americans Fund (OAF, as it's being called) is a flea-flicker that didn't flick. A fumblerooski that turned out to be just a fumble. A Statue of Liberty that is waist-deep in sand.

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