Dear Dan Snyder,
We suspect thatyou’re probably pretty excited about what #CancelColbert has done for you these past two weeks.The media feeding frenzy over the public battle between Asian America and Stephen Colbert seems to have provided you the perfect cover for your ongoing exploitation of Native peoples. While the news cycle has focused squarely on Asian Americans’ justifiable anger at a cable network satirist, you’ve managed to carry on with both the Washington R**skins and launch a foundation that supposedly focuses on the needs of Native youth — detestably named the Washington R**skins Original Americans Foundation.
Truth be told, we’re over you and your offensive Native mascotry.We’re joining our Native friends and fellow organizers in demanding that you change both the name and mascot of the Washington R**skins.
And seriously, this “foundation” of yours? We see your sham. We know that despite your publicly stated mission to “serve” Native communities, this foundation actually serves you by drastically reduce your own tax liability.1We also know that Gary Edwards, your right hand man at the foundation, has notoriously misappropriated, misused, and outright taken nearly $1 million from the Bureau of Indian Affairs while falsely claiming to “help” Indigenous communities through the his Native police association.2Meanwhile,we see you laughing all the way to bank by taking full advantage of Native people and their dehumanization.
Running multi-million dollar cash cows emblazoned with a racist slur and caricature is a far cry from “honoring” Native peoples. And we’re not having it.
We wish that the “Washington R**skins Original Americans Foundation” was just the punchline of a racist joke gone horribly wrong. In reality,it’s nothing short of you slapping Native communities in the face and calling it a handshake.And now, between the football team and your joke of a foundation, you’ve got two ways to perpetuate Native mascotry.
If you’re as committed to responding to the needs of Native peoples as you claim to be, then respond to the repeated requests to change the name. Because this has been — and continues to be — a clearly articulated need from the Native community.
We demand that you change both the name and mascot of the Washington R**skins.
Bureau of Indian Affiars’ Law Enforcement Recruitment Services Contract With the National Native American Law Enforcement Association, May 2013
More Trouble for Dan Snyder’s Foundation, ColorLines 3/28/2014