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Oneida Indians: Redskins owner doesn't grasp nickname's consequences

October 09, 2013|By Sam Farmer
  • Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter would like the Washington Redskins to change their nickname.
Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter would like the Washington… (Robert MacPherson / Getty…)

The Washington Redskins name-change fight is heating up.

Redskins owner Dan Snyder, who previously insisted he would never change the team's nickname even though some people find it offensive, wrote a letter to his team's season-ticket holders defending his position.

"I've listened carefully to the commentary and perspectives on all sides, and I respect the feelings of those who are offended by the team name," Snyder said in the letter. "But I hope such individuals also try to respect what the name means, not only for all of us in the extended Washington Redskins family, but among Native Americans too."

In response Wednesday, Oneida Indian Nation representative Ray Halbritter wrote: "We are glad to see that Mr. Snyder is listening to the growing number of critics on this issue...

“In his letter, Mr. Snyder made mention of his team's history.  He opted to omit from his letter, however, that the original owner who gave the team its current name was an avowed segregationist. That suggests the team's name was deliberately designed to denigrate people of color.  Unfortunately that ploy was successful. The marketing of this racial slur has had - and continues to have - very serious cultural, political, and public health consequences for my people and Native Americans everywhere.”  “It is clear from Mr. Snyder's letter that he does not understand those consequences.  So in the spirit of the dialogue that Mr. Snyder says he is willing to engage in, we are inviting him to join the NFL delegation in its upcoming meeting at our Homelands.  During his visit, we will organize a special meeting of Oneida Nation families where Mr. Snyder can personally explain to them why he believes they deserve to be called "redskins."  He can then hear directly from them why that term is so painful.”

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