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Amid pressure over name, Redskins create foundation

Keith Allison

The Oneida Indian Nation in upstate New York supports the creation of a new foundation by Washington D.C.'s professional football team, though it says it's not a solution.

The Oneida have stirred up a lot of pressure for the NFL's Washington Redskins to drop their nickname, saying the use of "Redskins" is a racial slur and offensive. The nation has managed to hold a meeting with league executives, get congressional support and hold events in the team's hometown. 

But owner Dan Snyder has stood tough by the name, saying it is a "badge of honor" and they use the term with respect to Native Americans.

In a public relations-boosting effort, Snyder announced the team will create a new foundation focused on Native American issues. The Original Americans Foundation will work to tackle unemployment and other poor living conditions on tribal owned land, Snyder said.

In a letter, Snyder wrote he has the support of thousands of fans and even some Native American tribes. He writes:

For too long, the struggles of Native Americans have been ignored, unnoticed and unresolved. As a team, we have honored them through our words and on the field, but now we will honor them through our actions. We commit to the tribes that we stand together with you, to help you build a brighter future for your communities.

But Snyder has not won over all opponents of the nickname's use, including Oneida Nation representative Ray Halbritter. The Oneida "honor the commitment" Snyder is making, Halbritter said in a statement, but use of the name has "made our people’s lives so much more difficult by using a racial slur as the Washington team’s name."

An American Indian activist told the Associated Press the foundation’s creation amounted to bribery.