Oneida Indian Nation responds to new Redskins foundation

Getty Images

On Monday, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder launched a foundation aimed at providing aid and assistance to Native Americans.  On Tuesday, the Native American group most loudly opposing the team’s name responded.

“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,” Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter 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.”

Snyder’s gesture will do little to change the minds of those who firmly have decided that they are for or against the continued use of the team’s name.  His target audience presumably resides in the middle, where folks either don’t have an opinion on the team’s name or haven’t adopted the opinion so strongly that change is unlikely.

77 responses to “Oneida Indian Nation responds to new Redskins foundation

  1. I feel that the free press and good will that would be generated by a name change (new name contest, etc) would far outweigh the cost of the change and the continued negative publicity they are receiving.

    If the name of a sports team is derogatory if you called a human being that name to their face, then it needs to be changed. Pretty simple.

  2. I would love to here how the Redsins name has “made our people’s lives so much more difficult”. There is always an agenda to the “liberal” cause and it always involves money and\or votes.

  3. One question I suppose needs to be answered.

    How is the name offensive if there are Native American High Schools that use the moniker?

    Answer, it isn’t. This group is simply seeking attention.

    Goodell said before if it offends even one person then it needs to be looked at. Ok so to counter that if one person doesn’t find it offensive it shouldn’t be looked at. By looking into the issue and possibly forcing a name change you are now offending the people that had no issue with it in the first place, and this includes a large amount of Native Americans

  4. Sorry Mike but I always see the same group reference when taking your position (which I respect but disagree with). Why is it always Oneida? What about all the groups Snyder met with which I believe we’re spread across 20 states?? Oneida represents Oneida but it appears they are still in the minority even among the Indian tribes.

  5. Even as a Boys fan, I think I speak for many football fans: WE DON’T CARE about the name! It’s football. Just give us football!

  6. You think the teams name “Red-Skins” is used to patronize Native Americans? Hell no. It’s to shmbolixe how damn bad ass those native Americans were. Imagine dating Pocahontas and having to meet her father for the first time. Hell no…

  7. Bet mr snyder will help every tribe that ever was or ever will be except the oneida nation. There struggles have nothing to do with the washington redskins being called redskins. The past is gone I am scottish and irish decent. Most think irish as leprechauns druids and drunkards. Scottish are bag pipe playing kilt wearing warriors. And this is why I missed my last car payment! No wait….ill be honest it has nothing to do with it at all.

  8. Exactly I dont see in any way how a name can affect people.. I just see it as a way for people to notice oneida indians you guys just want soke publicity.

  9. The response was somewhat dignified to begin with, but Mr. Halbritter is sounding more like a drama queen all the time. And sarcasm in your statement doesn’t add credibility.

  10. “His target audience presumably resides in the middle”

    WRONG. His “target audience” is clearly Native Americans.. and his attempt was to show a true, tangible, meaningful commitment to assistance. And their infantile response was “We don’t care. All we want is to have the name changed because the world is politically correct now.. and we uphold the meaningless position that the name of a football team undermines any and all other actions showing an effort to care for our people.”

  11. Made your life more difficult? How?

    By basically telling NFL fans and the rest of America that the racial slur “Redskins” is perfectly OK to use?

    Leading to this “I-can’t-believe-it’s-2014-and-we’re-still-having-this-discussion-oh-right-this-is-‘Murica” debate.

  12. The Redskins should just be removed from the league, They contribute nothing, only drama, top ten draft pick busts and a poor excuse for a football fan in logicalvoicesays. They are as broken as the leg of Joey Thiesman

  13. Is nobody going to point out the ridiculousness in the name of this foundation? Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation? Come on, I mean it has the slur in the name. It’s like starting an inner-city college scholorship foundation and calling it the National Association for the Advancement of N*****s.

  14. “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.”

    OMG, that is just soooo stupid, lol.

    Blonds have it worse.

  15. I’d like to see some bank statements of Halbritter’s. He’s getting paid from someone. Snyder just needs to fork over the cash, and this all goes away.

  16. It would be a marketing explosion for the owner to finally open up and concede and change the name. They could hold a contest or pick one of the many different online choices from Griffins (the logo and uniform I saw online was amazing) to anything else. But they can’t keep saying they care and that people aren’t offended by the word. What the owner is doing now is just being stubborn.

  17. Please explain how changing the Skins name will make life so much easier for the Native Americans?

  18. It’s such a shame that the Oneida’s have become some holy tribe that somehow dictates whats right and wrong for every single native american. They don’t understand that they represent the minority by a very small margain.

  19. “Snyder explained that efforts are already underway, including the distribution of over 3,000 cold-weather coats to several tribes in the Plains region, as well as shoes to players on boys and girls basketball teams. The team also assisted in the purchase of a new backhoe for the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska.”

    What, no small pox laced blankets? Wow, talk about tone death. This guy tries to pay off people in order to keep slurring them. Yeah, that’s gonna work.

  20. Seriously?? How bad have the modern day lives of these people been? There a lot of native american tribes that have casinos and live “LARGE” How much time must go by before anyone lets go of the past and lives in the future. I HATE a lot of what happened to the Native americans and african americans in the past however what have i done to anyone that i get blames for my ancestry??? move on people…. everything does not need to be politically correct… WE ARE ALL AMERICANS!!!!

  21. “No I’m sorry, we can’t hire you…. Well, it’s because that football team hasn’t changed it’s name yet.”

    “I’m sorry we are declining your loan application. Why? Well the Redskins really paint a bad picture on you as a person.”

    Is this how the team name has impeded your lives?

  22. “… a famous segregationist, have made our people’s lives so much more difficult by using a racial slur as the Washington team’s name.”
    —–
    I literally laughed out loud when I read this. What is he suggesting goes on in a Native Americans mind?

    “Oh, I’d like to stop drinking, get a job, and get out of poverty but that darn football team is called the ‘Redskins’! I wish they didnt make my life so difficult!!”

    J.O.K.E.

  23. Nobody’s life has ever been made more difficult by hearing the Redskin name or seeing the logo.

  24. That said, I’ll take your money to help my people, even though we at the Oneida Nation have done nothing to help them.

    See, it’s better for us to spend all our money lobbying for a name change, than it is for us to help provide education and economic assistance to our people.

    That’s what makes us at the Oneida Nation good and you all bad.

  25. The “activists” who are agitating for a name change, what are they actually doing about the problems facing their people? Fighting an NFL team to try and change its name isn’t addressing a single one of the myriad troubles that Natives face on a daily basis.

    And, seriously Mr. Halbritter, the use of the name “Washington Redskins” has not contributed one bit to the rampant poverty, disease, and substance abuse that plague the reservations.

    Maybe you should take the money being wasted on this name-change battle and put it to use through the new Foundation, where it can actually do some good for your people.

  26. Often people’s struggles can go away by simply getting a job. Those that are not busy in life tend to worry about minimal things in their surroundings.

  27. Not quite sure how one can look at the logo on that helmet and think calling it a redskin is meant to be racist. It projects strength. All in all, it’s a moot subject because the name will never change.

  28. Still trying to get an answer to these questions: Has anyone ever heard a person use the word “Redskin” as a slur against a native american? Has anyone ever heard a person use the word “Redskin” other than in reference to the NFL team or a HS team?

  29. The fact that we’re even having this discussion in 2014 is beyond ridiculous. Redskins is a racist, derogatory term. No amount of elite, whitebread tradition erases that fact.

  30. White people just don’t get it and never will. It’s not their fault either. It’s just the way it is and will be for a long time. Just don’t try to sweep it under the rug and act like enough time has past, people should forget about it, move on and act like it’s not an issue anymore.

  31. The natives did not ask for coats or dozers, they asked for a name change.

    Change the mascot has worked to get many high schools to change their name, colleges and pros as well.

    Natives simply want the United States to live up to their end of the bargain, the things that were agreed upon are not some line item during budget cuts. The U.S. has a responsibility, not Mr. Snyder.

  32. Some comments on the Comments:

    1. While its admirable that Snyder is contributing to the betterment of a group that has been forgotten for far too long; he has owned the team for 10 years. He’s not only late to the party, it looks bad that it took years of the name change pressure to get him to act at all.

    2. There is no question that the name is a Racial Slur and has no business being used as a nickname for an NFL time. This should be no different than the reaction would be for a team like the NY N’words, the KC Kikes, the SD Spicks.

    3. Why don’t we be honest about this. The only reason why the name isn’t being changed is the $. The only reason some fans don’t want a change is that they’ve invested in too much in merchandize.

    4. The media could “do the right thing” and simply refuse to use the word :redskins: in any copy or commentary referring to the Washington NFL franchise.

    Simply instead of using “The Redskins just signed so and so”, just say “Washington just signed so and so. It would be an easy fix, and the right thing.

  33. Knowing the NFL, they will change the name but milk the process for all it is worth. They will then start some faux charity cause to provide good optics and then everyone can pat themselves on the back, without really doing anything other than selling a few more jerseys of the Washington Redbacks or whatever.

  34. The “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation” is merely an attempt to pay Native Americans for their silence. Snyder is doing anything & everything he can think of in an effort to retain the “Redskins” name. It is hilariously hypocritical of him to launch this foundation, yet continue to use a racial slur. What a joke. If the team had any other name, he wouldn’t have spent one minute or one dollar on this “effort”.

  35. Bravo Dan Snyder! Way to be proactive and help those in need when frankly he didn’t even have to. Kill them with kindness, makes sense. He has further earned my respect as a man of Native Heritage. I just became an even BIGGER Redskins fan today and very proud of my team! Congratulations Dan on a job well done.

  36. I’d be ok with the REDSKINS being forced to chance their name when the Chiefs do, the Cleveland Indians do, the Chicago Blackhawks do, the Atlanta Braves do, so and and so on.

    If you’re a fan of any of those teams then you better start paying close attention, because all it takes is one domino to fall and you’ll be the next target.

    It’s 2014 people. The word police need to stop living in the past and trying to wedge their way into the main stream. It took 80 years for someone to really make a stink about the name, which is 60 past it’s relevance.

  37. I could understand if “Redskins” was actually a racial slur but it’s not. It was perfectly acceptable to everyone INCLUDING “Native Americans” up until political correctness took over. Unlike the dreaded “N” word there is no negative historical background to it other than people were really, really lazy and labeled everyone from the 1770’s up until the late 1970’s.

    While I understand with the change in era’s political correctness turns something that’s perfectly fine into something not acceptable acting as if the “Redskins” somehow negatively affected their lives is downright laughable.

    So the “N” word it is not. I would compare it more to referring to a black person as “colored”. Perfectly acceptable at a certain point but since times have changed the term is outdated and younger generations of African Americans might take it as a racial slur just because they aren’t used to hearing it even though the main African American civil rights group still uses the term (NAACP).

    I guess what I’m saying is they are well within their right to want the name changed but to act like it’s for any other reason than “we just don’t like the word anymore” is a slap in the face to actual civil rights fights going on in the world.

  38. Whatever happened to –

    Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me

    Apparently we are raising several generations of wusses.

    Get over it and play football

  39. If you google Oneida you will find oneida.com is a maker of cookware and oneida-air.com is a maker of dust collecting devices. Shouldn’t the Oneida nation be objecting to being referred to as dust collectors or pots and pans? Perhaps the Oneida corp should go after the Oneida indians for infringing on the registered Oneida name.

  40. REDSKINS….Im sick of the bleeding heart, leftist liberals. over 90% want the name to stay. Same as one or atheists want every body else to change things for them.. Here is the answer…Don’t like it, don’t look. HAIL TO THE REDSKINS….this from a Eagles fan.

  41. The Oneida Indian Nation has to stop associating Synder with Marshall. Yes they have both had/currently own the Redskins, respectively. But the thoughts of one owner (Marshall) should not be associated with the thoughts of another owner (Snyder). That’s like saying all blacks look alike or the thoughts of a radical in a country is the thoughts on every person in that country.

    Stop with all this BS and people like and love the football teams and mascots that they grew up watching and rooting for.

  42. The D.C. press is saying Snyder’s comments are unusually tone-deaf, even by political standards. This is coming from political reporters, who hear tone-deaf all the time, such as Senator John McCain’s “the fundamentals of the economy are fine,” or Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan’s comments about CCSS opponents.

  43. I’m an Eagles fan who happens to think this whole thing is nonsense generated by the media. Reasonable people will disagree on whether or not to change the name. I happen to think that the term isn’t actually a racial slur. I’ve never heard it used that way…ever. Of course, some may find it offensive or at least politically incorrect, so perhaps there is an argument for changing it.

    Having said all that, the Oneida response to the foundation announcement is classless, unreasonable, and makes them look bad. Do they really have to take a dig at Snyder by essentially stating “after ten years we’re glad he’s finally doing something?” I mean, wow. Can’t you just say you appreciate that he’s doing something positive but still disagree with the name? It comes across as petty and personal, and doesn’t make them look good. Snyder may be a clown who can’t run a football team and isn’t great with PR, but he’s better than that kind of response. Time for some new PR consultants for Oneida Nation.

  44. It’s no more a racial slur than any other NFL team name that refers to a group of people. Such a non-story here these people need to grow up and take responsibility for the own lives instead of blaming their woes on an NFL team name. just ridiculous.

  45. Oh goody. Some charity. The whole point you have to do such a thing tells you it’s a PR stunt. It’s like the hundreds of energy commercials on TV all day.

    Then they end up with millions of gallons of fuel polluting the land or ocean with a spill. Get fined 2 billion dollars for injury and clean up. In the end the energy company pays a reduced fine of about 1/8th of the 2 billion and leaves a huge mess that only cleaned up the visible damage.

    And I have said before. If Redskins is not a derogatory word that really embraces the Warrior spirit or some nonsense, then quit saying Native American in PR and use the term Redskins. Not doing so speaks volumes no matter what ideology you follow.

  46. Yeah I’m sure all the Native Americans problems will go away once the Skins change their name. This story is getting old and boring.

  47. If it’s not a racial slur, why didn’t he call his foundation the Washington Redskins Redskins Foundation?

  48. Native Americans, 100 + years of depending on government leads to many of them living in squalor.

    Just a decade or so of giving capitalism a try by building casinos and many are living much better.

  49. Launching a foundation = Actual change for improvement for the people in question.

    Changing the Redskins name = No difference in any Native’s day-to-day lives.

    Does this Oneida nation even represent all the tribes across the US? No Native I’ve ever met has ever given a crap about the Redskins name. And why aren’t they also going after the Chiefs? And what about the Braves? Isn’t “chief” used more as a derogitive term than anything else? Does ANYONE at ALL even use redskin as a derogitive term?

  50. I dare every one of you defending the name to call the next Native American you see “Redskin” and see what happens. You don’t think it’s offensive? Try it and see. I’ll wait to hear you report the results. I don’t think you will though, because you don’t have the balls to say it.

  51. I feel sorry for the people who are bothered by a team’s name, they must be very unhappy people who need something to complain about. There are so many more important things to worry about.

  52. Ray Halbritter, you are a MLK, Jr. wannabe, without a true cause. Therefore without any substance of truth you need to manufacture some rhetoric with speculative words to emotionally cause people to panic in political correctness instead of using the legal system that requires definitive proof beyond the reasonable doubt.

    No evidence of derogatory use of the word Redskins has been presented just a continuous opinionated forces trying to keep the turbulence going.

    I the word frog face is not a derogatory term, but it can be made a derogatory term if I call you that with intent to demean or destroy your person and character.

    This continued nonsense to attempt to draw the plight of the people who needed the law to be equally enforced for all people during the Civil rights movement is offensive to me.

    No American Indian was ever denied an equal enforcement of the law because they were considered redskins people. They happened to be the people who were already here in this country when they were stripped of their possessions by a people who considered that they had the right to occupy the same land even if they had to take it by force and relegate them to the current reservations and life styles.

    Their skin color had nothing to do with their circumstance, but they have been denigrated for what they had that someone else wanted and took by force.

    It wouldn’t have mattered who were the original occupants or the color of their skin, they were overtaken by superior weaponry and kept in a docile state of ignorance to the mainstream life by skillfully conjured schemes of intellectual bandage enforced in the political halls of justice.

    Mr. Snyder doesn’t owe the original Americans anything and has the right to due process of the law if he breaks it.

    You have never heard him or anyone else use the name Redskins to mock, mimic, defraud, defame, lessen, dehumanize or destroy the person and character of the American Indian.

    Comedians joke about everything and all people and I have never heard one reference to American Indians as Redskins period.

    Even when the N- word was used by black comedians, it was in an attempt to help defuse the violent reaction from the raging anger associated with the dehumanization of a people who needed something laugh about even in perilous times of healing.

    America’s conscious was brought to reproof by the Civil Rights movement, but it was brought to change by the law.

    Mr. Snyder legally owns a team with a legally acquired trade name and if it is against the law, then cite the law and enforce the law that’s going to change it for everyone using similar monikers.

    No comedian was using the N-word during the movement, but it became a rallying point after the fact to remind us of the liberties that came from the struggles with the dark skin and lives off other people’s backs.

    I don’t want to be called the No word and it can still be used in a derogatory way depending on the circumstances and who is using it will determine the outcome.

    Redskins is not in that same category unless someone is trying to force the issue in their own personal agenda.

    Someone has finally realized that the American Indians still have a voice in to speak to America, but someone wants to kill that voice by removing their names referenced by the multi billion dollar sports franchises that remind America that they are still on the reservations in impoverished conditions.

    This is not Mr. Snyders problem to solve and neither should he feel compelled to allow political pressure and an a self aggrandizing opportunist avoid legal due process for necessary change.

    If Mr. Snyder ran his business of these kinds of bullying pressures, he’d be broke chasing verbal firestorms created by the enticement of evey Tom, Dick and Ray in the world.

    America doesn’t want to face the truth about the plight of the American Indians because there would already be a law forbidding the use of the term that has caused the impoverished life style to flourish on the reservations.

    By the way if you do something verbally to cause a person not to be able to continue to make a living from some perceived character issue and it was found in due process that you were wrong all the time; wouldn’t that be slander or defamation?

    Keep pushing Ray and maybe you’ll soon need the mercy of Mr. Snyder in his case against you.

  53. This is a truly a historic moment for both Native Americans and the Redskins. Real change has come from all of this, it’s a wonderful start by reaching out to Native Americans in need. At least something good and positive came out of this issue. Native Americans got some of the help they desperately need (and will continue to) and the Redskins opened up their hearts and checkbooks to addressing some of those needs. The Redskins and Mr. Snyder are the only team and team owner in professional sports that I know of that really helps the Native American, not just talking about it or writing articles about it. What other team is really making a difference? This shows me he truly respects Native Americans and their plight. He proactively did something about it and made real change and progress here. I find this truly admirable, respectful and heartwarming even though some stubborn folks may still say he doesn’t really care and it’s just a PR stunt to keep the name. I truly believe he did it for the good of my people and to make a real and tangible difference. Also, he did it because he truly knows in his heart Redskins Nation is all about Pride, Honor, Heritage and Respect. This type of ongoing change is something they can see and feel, not just words and empty rhetoric and hollow promises. He didn’t just write a check, he went out and put time and effort into this by traveling to many states and reservations and showing great respect in the process. To me that truly shows his character as a kind human being. Dan wants to really make a difference in their lives and for that he has earned my respect. Mr. Snyder put his money where his mouth is when frankly he didn’t even have to. Today is a great day to be a Skins fan and I couldn’t be any prouder of my team right now and it’s owner for doing a great thing for my people. I became an even BIGGER Redskins fan today and I didn’t think that was possible. God Bless you Mr. Snyder and Thank You for being a man with integrity…. HTTR!

  54. How about they look at the squeaky wheel Halbritter, his own tribe members have been trying to kick him off the counsel for years. The Redskins name change is the only way he can keep his name in the news.
    HTTR Forever with PRIDE

  55. How can the name of a team have a negative effect on peoples lives like Ray Halbritter has claimed? Have they lost sleep, have their wives left them?

  56. The problem is that Snyder should have done this fifteen years ago. I’ve been telling my friends this for at least five years. Honor the heritage and keep it alive. I guess it’s never too late to do a good thing…

  57. If you don’t like the name, make Mr Snyder an offer to purchase the team that he just CAN’T pass up, and then spend YOUR money to change it. Until then, don’t buy anything with the R-word on it and become a Cowboys fan,,, they could use the help…

  58. Im part indian, i see no offense in the name. Hell, i would take pride in it. If the redskins are getting bashed so bad about a name and a picture then the chiefs should as well. I live 45 mins give or take from Arrowhead stadium where the Chiefs play. Should the stadium name have to be changed as well. Also, just as major, there are like 6 reservations within a short drive from me and most of the schools around me have some sort of indian referenced name that is off reservation and any other tribal land including the local middle school and high school. Middle school is called Brsvrs with a green on white indian and the high school are called the Redmen with a closely resembled logo picture to that of the redskins. Noone here or on the reservations have ever had a problem with it. Why is it that the Redskins, after many years of the use of the name, taking so much heat.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!