July 29, 2014

Redskins lie about Native opposition

Letter to Dan Snyder takes issue with Redskins message

By Erik BradyLeaders of the National Congress of American Indians and Oneida Indian Nation have sent a letter to Daniel Snyder, owner of the Washington NFL club, asking him to disavow suggestions that protests against his team's name are the work of white elites rather than people of color.

The letter, obtained by USA TODAY Sports, notes that recently two of Snyder's employees, past and present, have made such allegations: Former consultant/blogger Ben Tribbett told Buzzfeed that the campaign against the team name is the work of "well-intentioned" elites and "not Native Americans" while Original Americans Foundation director Gary Edwards told the Fort Yuma Quechan (Kwatsan) Tribe that opposition to the Redskins name is part of a "white, liberal agenda," according to tribal member Kenrick Escalanti, who told USA TODAY Sports.

The letter, signed by NCAI executive director Jacqueline Pata and Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter, calls such notions "demonstrably untrue" while citing major Native American and civil rights organizations--such as the NCAI and the NAACP--that are on record against the team name.

"Ignoring these facts by insisting people of color are not part of the Change the Mascot campaign is an unfortunate, age-old tactic designed to marginalize people of color by pretending our basic existence does not deserve to be acknowledged," the letter says.
Letter to Snyder Says Stop Saying People of Color Aren't Part of Campaign Against RedskinsA letter refuting suggestions that the opposition to the Redskins name is the work of the liberal white elite rather than Native Americans and other people of color was sent to Daniel Snyder last week, USA TODAY reports.

Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and Jacqueline Pata, executive director of the National Congress of American Indians, wrote to Snyder demanding that he "distribute it [the letter] to your employees and instruct them to stop claiming that people of color are not part of the campaign to end your organization's use of the R-word. We request, in other words, that your employees express at least a minimal level of respect to the countless number of people of color who are part of this campaign."

"As we continue to debate the damage your use of this racial slur is doing to Native Americans across this country, we hope that you at least agree that your representatives should acknowledge the existence of people of color, even when those people of color vehemently oppose your actions,” the letter said.

According to TODAY, the letter cites specific allegations against Ben Tribbett and Gary Edwards, the director of the team’s Original Americans Foundation. Tribbett, who recently resigned as a consultant for the team, allegedly said that the campaign to change the name is the work of “well-intentioned” white elites and “not Native Americans.”

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