Oneida Nation Says ‘Redskins’ Efforts to Discredit its Leadership Will not Work

By: ICTMN Staff


From a Press Release

Last week, the Oneida Indian Nation responded to a March 16 report suggesting that Washington’s NFL team and its  supporters have attempted to discredit opponents of their offensive mascot only  to be told by other Native American leaders that the name should  change. Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative and the leader  of the Change the  Mascot movement, has come under personal attack for publicly urging the team  to drop a name which is a dictionary-defined racial slur.

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“In his desire to defend a name given to his team by an avowed  segregationist, Dan Snyder can continue to try to attack me personally, but his  strategy will not work, because this is far bigger and more important than any  one person or group,” Halbritter said. “This is an issue that underscores what  it means to treat people with respect and to stop causing them pain rather than  continuing to insult them with a racist epithet.  This is a serious moral,  human rights and civil rights issue – and the  team’s behavior continues to  have serious negative consequences for Native Americans,” Halbritter added.

Sid Hill, the spiritual leader of the Six Nations, recently received a call  from a representative of the Washington team, which “felt like they were looking  for something, that they wanted me to discredit Ray, and I wasn’t going to go  there.” Hill said: “The backlash Ray’s received is kind of scary…it’s like  they’re trying to discredit the witness.”

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In an interview with Sean Kirst from The Syracuse Post-Standard,  Hill underscored his view that the R-word does not honor Native Americans, as  the team has claimed. The term, he said, is a taunt and an insult that if  directed toward a Native American on their territory would be seen by the target  of the slur as an attempt to inflict hurt.

“It is hardly surprising that the team marketing a racial slur against Native  Americans is evidently working to further denigrate Native Americans with  personal attacks,” said Oneida Indian Nation Vice President for Communications  Joel Barkin. “For all its rhetoric about respect, the team officials’ ugly  tactics prove that they lack real respect for Native Americans.”