Tribe refuses “bribe money” from Washington foundation
It’s a story that has been percolating for a few days. Now that the Associated Press has picked it up, the latest P.R. embarrassment regarding the Washington team name has become official.
A Native American tribe on the Arizona-California border trying to raise $250,000 for a skate park has refused funding from the Original Americans Foundation, a group started earlier this year by owner Daniel Snyder in response to ongoing opposition to a name regarded by many as a slur.
“No, we’re not going to accept any kind of monetary offer to side with allowing them to utilize the inappropriate name for this NFL team,” Quechan tribal president Keeny Escalanti Sr. told the AP.
“The sacrifice we took to say no wasn’t an easy one,” Escalanti added. “We wish we could help the kids today by taking the partnership. We’re trying to teach our community and the youth that we can do things the right way. We don’t have to accept this type of money from these people.”
Previously, the Arizona Republic explained that the tribe turned down a “blank check” from the foundation at a council meeting attended by Original Americans Foundation executive director Gary Edwards and director Karl Schreiber.
“He said he was a proud Redskin and had been a proud Redskin since he was a child,” Escalanti told the Republic regarding Edwards. And it apparently got even more uncomfortable than that.
“Edwards just brought up key words that you just don’t bring up in Indian country, like assimilation, annihilation,” Escalanti said. “And he tried to talk down about White people, saying they’re the oppressor. . . . I don’t know what he thought he was doing in talking like that to us — impress us? Like he thought he could talk like that among his fellow Natives? It was so awkward.”
Thus, the tribe rejected an offer from the Original Americans Foundation to pay for the entire park, issuing the following statement to the Republic: “We will not align ourselves with an organization to simply become a statistic in their fight for name acceptance in Native communities. . . . We know bribe money when we see it.”
The debate regarding the name has simmered in recent weeks, with most of the news coming from failed efforts by the team to defend it. While the controversy has reached a stage where it’s likely to not go away until the name changes, there wouldn’t be as much to say about the situation if the team could manage to stay out of its own way for a week or two.