Whitewashing Redskins Tour Gets Navajo Code Talkers Assoc. Endorsement
“I know this really hurts our inter-tribal relationships around the country,” Butler added. ”As a council member, I’ve been very involved statewide and on the national level with advocacy efforts with other tribal leaders and something like this, it does affect unity and our working relationships inter-tribally.”
The Navajo Nation is not a member of the National Congress of American Indians, which recently published a white paper called “Ending the Legacy of Racism in Sports & the Era of Harmful ‘Indian’ Mascots,” but it does partner with NCAI on issues of common concern.
“The NCTA is putting us in an awkward position because some tribes, especially on the east coast, are fighting this aggressively. At the end of the day, we have to work with those tribes as well and the NCTA is sending the wrong message by endorsing the utilization of that term,” Butler said. “It’s very upsetting, it’s shameful, it’s wrong, it’s derogatory and the Redskins should be ashamed of themselves.”
MacDonald and members of the NCTA met Snyder last fall after he began his tour of Indian country, seeking support for his team name and mascot. A friend of Snyder’s told the Washington Post that the trips to Indian country were motivated by Snyder’s “feelings about the pain and depression – depression is the word he has used with me – of Native Americans who have no jobs, who have obesity issues, whose children are suffering.”
The trips also coincide with launching of a national campaign against the team name supported by the Oneida Indian Nation (which owns ICTMN) called “Change the Mascot.”
In recent months, Snyder and his team officials have visited the Poarch Band of Creek Indians, a tribe under fire from other tribes for building a casino on Hickory Ground, a site that’s sacred to the Muscogee Creek Indians, and the poverty-stricken Zuni Pueblo in New Mexico, among other tribes. Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie told the Washington Post that Snyder and company have taken more than a dozen unpublicized trips around Indian country.
RELATED: The Battle For Hickory Ground
While those trips were unpublicized, Snyder’s pursuit of the Navajo Code Talkers was no secret. In late November, the Redskins plane flew MacDonald, and members George James Sr. and George Willie Sr. from Gallup, New Mexico to D.C. for the November 25 Washington-San Francisco game to “honor” them, accompanied by a blitz of media attention.
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