Dan Snyder, Owner of Washington Football Team Issues Letter, Announces Original Americans Foundation

Mr. Snyder, owner of the infamous Washington team, has decided that instead of changing the racial epithet used in the team’s name, he will start a foundation to address social ills within Native American communities. Taken from his letter Letter-from-Dan-Snyder-032414:

The mission of the Original Americans Foundation is to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities. With open arms and determined minds, we will work as partners to begin to tackle the troubling realities facing so many tribes across our country. 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.

He claims that this decision was based on information he gathered while touring reservations.

Several months ago I wrote you about my personal reflections on our team name and on our shared Washington Redskins heritage. I wrote then – and believe even more firmly now – that our team name captures the best of who we are and who we can be, by staying true to our history and honoring the deep and enduring values our name represents. In that letter, I committed myself to listening and learning from all voices with a perspective about our Washington Redskins name. I’ve been encouraged by the thousands of fans across the country who support keeping the Redskins tradition alive. Most – by overwhelming majorities – find our name to be rooted in pride for our shared heritage and values. . . .

What would my resolve to honoring our legacy mean if I myself—as the owner of and a passionate believer in the Washington Redskins—didn’t stay true to my word? I wanted and needed to hear firsthand what Native Americans truly thought of our name, our logo, and whether we were, in fact, upholding the principle of respect in regard to the Native American community. So over the past four months, my staff and I travelled to 26 Tribal reservations across twenty states to listen and learn first-hand about the views, attitudes, and experiences of the Tribes. We were invited into their homes, their Tribal Councils and their communities to learn more about the extraordinary daily challenges in their lives.
Considering the vast number of articles, Facebook posts, and tweets by Native people vehemently opposed to keeping the name, it is interesting that only those in favor of allowing it to remain seem to have been heard. Previous coverage here.
Here is one article reacting to this announcement.

2 thoughts on “Dan Snyder, Owner of Washington Football Team Issues Letter, Announces Original Americans Foundation

  1. Philip H. Tinker March 25, 2014 / 10:59 am

    Since this man is a “passionate believer” in the “deep and enduring values” that his team name represents, I wonder why he did not do the obvious and name it the “Redskins Foundation.” Surely he would have received droves of support from all of those Original Americans who he claims so strongly support the perpetuation of racial and cultural stereotyping that are inherent in his team name and mascot. So I detect strong notes of cognitive dissonance if not outright hypocrisy.

    I truly hope his experiences visiting these communities have inspired him to see the problems native communities face and to seek to address them by empowering the people and their communities rather than imposing an outsider’s values. But his and his organization’s blind spot with respect to the team name make me skeptical that they’ll be able to listen to what the community has to say and have the wisdom to act accordingly. I hope I’m wrong, and this proves to be a lasting and positive relationship that benefits Native communities and football fans alike.

    If the Footballers learn anything from that relationship it will be that the name truly is unsupportable, and it will fall by the wayside within five years or so. I’m not going to bet on it, but stranger things have happened.

  2. Lisa Inwood March 25, 2014 / 2:17 pm

    So he is trying to buy First Nations People off. Typical arrogant idiot. Maybe if he put the entire profits for the remaining years he owns the team into a fund I might buy it. But my guess it will be pennies on the dollar and as Natives we are supposed to be happy he slanders our people and then throws money at us. Right….so not happening. I still say Washington Racists fits better then Washington Red Skins.

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