MONTGOMERY VILLAGE, Md., March 25, 2014 – On March 24 Daniel M. Snyder, owner and Chairman of the Board of the Washington Redskins sent an email addressed to “Everyone in our Washington Redskin Nation.”
Mr. Snyder tells us in this letter that he has listened to those of us that have raised issues with the name of the team. He also indicates that for the past four months he and his staff have travelled to 26 Tribal reservations across 20 states to learn the experiences of the tribes. Through these experiences he has learned the incredible challenges that our first Americans face. He has also been rewarded with the sense of pride that Native Americans feel about their history and traditions.
Earlier in the letter DMS talks about how Redskin fans overwhelmingly support keeping the name of the team. It isn’t clear if the same rate of support is applicable to Native Americans. He does mention how some of the Native Americans he talked to were thankful for his approach and benefits that may come from it. He quotes Mary L. Resvaloso, Chairwoman of the Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians as saying “I believe God has turned this around for something good”. It is implied that “this” applies to the name of the team. DMS was moved by this and pledged to her that he would find ways to improve the daily lives of people in her tribe.
DMS then goes into several paragraphs of the challenges facing Native Americans, including very high poverty rates, very high disease and suicide rates, lack of bare necessities like clean water and electricity in a significant number of households.
He promises to take action and the first step is the announcement today March 25th of the creation of the “Washington Redskins Original American Foundation”. This foundation will provide meaningful and measurable resources to increase opportunities to Tribal communities. Priorities will be based on the input of Tribal leaders.
The Foundation will be led by Gary Edwards, a Cherokee and retired Deputy Assistant Director of the United States Secret Service and founder and chief executive officer of the National Native American Law Enforcement Association.
Snyder believes that a Native American leadership based on the input from Tribal leaders leaves this effort completely in the hands of the population served. He believes that his travels and a survey on 100 reservations will provide with the real needs of the Tribes.
He also indicates that the work has already began with the distribution of 3,000 cold weather coats to several tribes and assistance (?) in the purchase of a new backhoe for the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska. He also tells us that there are over 40 additional projects underway and that he would tell us how these progress.
- No way José that the name will change. Redskins fans support retaining the name and at least some Native Americans do so also;
- DMS was moved by the plight of Native Americans and has decided to do something about it (Does that mean he didn’t know before this PR campaign?). What it is, is not clear;
- A prominent Native American will lead the effort, using Tribal leaders as the source of information;
- He intends to continue his path finding mission using the information from a survey of 100 Tribal reservations;
- There is no mention as of the level of support for this initiative. How many of Mr. Snyder’s billions will be placed on the table?
- There is no mention of current Federal agencies, like the Bureau of Indian Affairs (annual budget $2.4 billion) and the Indian Health Service (annual budget $3.8 billion). Will there be cooperation with all agencies?
Cynics would say that this is just a PR move by DMS to deflect criticism related to the name of the team and his management of it.
However, we should take him at his word and wait to see what his new Foundation accomplishes.
The 21st Century Pacifist is a diehard ***skins fan, he is in Facebook (Mario Salazar), Twitter (@chibcharus) and Google+.