Whitewashing Redskins Tour Gets Navajo Code Talkers Assoc. Endorsement

Gale Courey Toensing

Dan Snyder, owner of the Washington Redskins, has been trying to sway public opinion to support his football team’s racist name for years now. He’s dangled money in front of needy schools in and around Pine Ridge. He tried—unsuccessfully—to get Haudenosaunee leaders to say disparaging things about Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter, who launched the Nation’s campaign to change the offensive name. He got Jennifer Farley, former high level White House employee during the George W. Bush administration, who was on the receiving end of gifts from disgraced former Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, to facilitate a meeting with the Poarch Band of Creek Indians and other Indian leaders—who have been asked to sign non-disclosure agreements about what’s been said and done at the meetings. He’s waved tempting 50-yard-line D.C. game tickets and Super Bowl tickets under the noses of lobbyists and leaders, and presented a poorly orchestrated series of online endorsements by fans who are supposedly Native (mostly claiming Cherokee heritage) in an effort to prove the team’s ugly name is not offensive to Indians.

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And now, in a sad turn of events, he’s managed to snare the endorsement of seven World War II veterans. After months of courting support in Indian country, Snyder finally chalked up a big success: Seven octogenarian Navajo Code Talkers have endorsed the Redskins name and mascot. But judging from the reaction in Indian country, it could be his greatest misstep yet in this sordid campaign.

The endorsement was approved at a meeting of the Navajo Code Talkers Association (NCTA) in Window Rock, Arizona on February 28 – and was met with outrage from the descendants of code talkers actively involved in the association and devoted to honoring the legacy of their fathers and grandfathers. Much of their ire is directed at Association Chairman Peter MacDonald, who they allege has “hijacked” the NCTA and manipulated the code talkers to endorse the name for his own benefit.

In an interview with Indian Country Today Media Network, MacDonald vigorously denied having any financial involvement with the Redskins team. “There’s been all kinds of rumors and innuendos and theories going around about what our relationship with the Washington Redskins is all about. We wanted to set the record straight. There have been calls that Redskins paid us money... this is all totally wrong. Let me say this: The Redskins’ invitation and visit by Navajo Code Talkers was totally, totally funded by Redskins… to honor the Navajo Code Talkers. It was completely initiated by the Redskins as part of their annual tribute to all armed forces.


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bullbear's picture
Submitted by bullbear on
This stinks of Old MacDonald up to his old tricks again. He is placed in a Navajo Code Talkers Association (NCTA) leadership capacity and slyly gets action passed by those whose ears he has bent. It doesn't take much to see that he is also contradicting himself. On one hand he is telling the press to pay more heed to unemployment, drugs and health needs of tribal nations, while on the other hand, he is pushing his own agenda and asking NCTA to endorse the Washington R-------s mascot. I think its time for NCTA to consider placing another of its members in the leadership role before Old MacDonald runs it into the ground which he already has a head start on doing. There are more pressing matters for the organization, such as, the realization of the Navajo Code Talkers Museum and Veterans Center on the 208-acres of donated land. What ever happened to this lofty goal? Isn't this much more important than voting on an issue that thousands, if not millions, of Native and non-Natives find highly offensive throughout history? If nothing else, "get your priorities straight, Old MacDonald!"

tmsyr11's picture
Submitted by tmsyr11 on
Now the "Regressive" forces are relegating their attacks to character assassinations? What happen to the emphasis on keeping the Redskin (yes I said it) institution that has existed for 4 generations (20 x 4)? It appears for REGRESSION politics, as long as these "iconic elders" keep quiet and out of the limelight of racial agitation/racial-baiting politics, then they continue to be revered. Otherwise the guns of REGRESSION get turned on you and you become the enemy. Has it every occured to you the REGRESSIVE soldier that there are great many individuals - indian, native, first nations, indigenous, tribal…whatever - who have INDIVIDUAL rights and INDIVIDUAL opinions - who can think for themselves and don't believe in POLITICAL forces deciding what is 'right' and what 'is not right'? Why not carry out something = attacks more relevant like questioning the current Obama White House and their ineptness and/or lacking administration of American Indian affairs. What has become of Indian Today reports of the November Congress/Indian White House accomplishments? American Indians have been waiting since 2008 for something concrete to come out of this WHite House. Heck, the previous WHite House has done more for Indians than what is being done now.