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Oneida Nation Responds To Daniel Snyder’s Comments on ‘Redskins’ Nickname

Patrick McDermott, Getty Images

Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter issued a statement in response to Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s letter to Redskins season ticket holders.

In the letter, Snyder said, “Our past isn’t just where we came from  –  it’s who we are.”

Although some Native Americans and others say by definition, the name, Redskins, is an offensive term, Snyder says the name was “never a label” and it always has been and continues to be a “badge of honor.”

The Redskins owner says he respects the opinions of those who disagree, wants to know he hears them and will “continue to listen and learn.”

“We are glad to see that Mr. Snyder is listening to the growing number of critics on this issue that include the President of the United States, senior members of the U.S. Congress, civil rights organizations, public health organizations and Native American tribes,” Halbritter said. “These leaders and groups, who collectively represent millions of people, understand why a professional football team should not be promoting a racial slur. 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.”

Halbritter continued by inviting Snyder to join the NFL in its upcoming visit to the Oneida Homelands.

“It is clear from Mr. Snyder’s letter that he does not understand those consequences,” Halbritter said. “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 the term is so painful.”

Snyder has not yet issued an answer to Halbritter’s invitation.

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