The owner of the Washington Redskins, who adamantly refuses to change the team’s controversial name that many believe to be a racial slur, announced Monday he was starting a new foundation to aid Native Americans called the “Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.”
“The mission of the Original Americans Foundation is to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities,” Dan Snyder said in a statement. “With open arms and determined minds, we will work as partners to begin to tackle the troubling realities facing so many tribes across our country. Our efforts will address the urgent challenges plaguing Indian country based on what Tribal leaders tell us they need most.”
Snyder said he reached the decision to create the foundation after visiting 26 reservations where he learned “first-hand about the views, attitudes, and experiences of the Tribes.” The initiative has already begun providing coats and shoes to poverty stricken communities.
“The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation will serve as a living, breathing legacy – and an ongoing reminder – of the heritage and tradition that is the Washington Redskins,” he added.
The team’s name has been criticized by several tribes and even President Barack Obama.
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN), co-chair of the House Native American Caucus, said in a statement that Snyder “wants to keep profiting from his team’s racist brand and use those profits to attempt to buy the silence of Native Americans with a foundation that is equal parts public relations scheme and tax deduction.”
This post has been updated.
Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site’s coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at email@example.com.