Oneida Nation applauds Washington for dropping ‘racist’ logo

“The time has finally come after 50 years of fighting the racist naming of teams and mascots."
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 11:03 AM CDT
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ONEIDA, Wis. (WBAY) - Oneida Nation says it applauds the Washington NFL football team for dropping its name and logo Monday.

“The time has finally come after 50 years of fighting the racist naming of teams and mascots. One of the toughest battles has been won, the Washington Team has retired a racist name and mascot,” reads a statement from the tribe.

Oneida Chairman Tehassi Hill says, “The Oneida Nation is a nation of strong families built upon our traditions and culture and a strong economy. We encourage the use of a good mind, a good heart and a strong fire. Today our fire within burns stronger and our minds and heart are full of hope that change for the better is coming to our nations.”

For decades, Oneida Nation’s mission has been to end the use of names and logos that mock the culture of Native Americans, according to the tribe.

Chairman Hill said the decision to change now has a lot to do with what we have been seeing in the wake of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis.

“I think just the social movement with black live matter and really pressing on racial issues put a spot light on businesses and other entities that have long supported race-based mascots,” said Hill.

Hill said pressure from numerous corporate sponsors including FedEx, which owns the naming rights to Washington’s stadium, also helped swing momentum.

“A lot of times that is a catalyst and for a long time, our trust enrollment director was very involved in social responsible investing. Susan white, who has since passed on, this was one of her major battles working with FedEX to introduce resolutions to change the name on the stadium,” said Hill.

Hill hopes others follow in Washington’s footsteps and the nation continues to push for a better tomorrow with more understanding of Native American heritage. Hill said it starts with better education in schools.

“Just down the road about 7 miles, Seymour School District used to be Seymour Indians, but now they are Seymour Thunder so there’s a change right in our own neighborhood that happened some time ago already,” said Hill. “It’s better late than never, but it’s always a march. One step at a time as we keep moving forward.”

Washington played the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field last season. Oneida Nation produced a commercial that aired on the Lambeau Field scoreboard during halftime. The goal of the “I am Oneida” ad was to help educate people about why the tribe takes offense to Native American caricatures in sports.

I am Oneida

Check out our newest 30 second commercial: "Oneida Defines Who We Are." We are one, with our past, our future, one with peace, joy, and with all creation. We are big, small, young and old, we are light and dark, we are police, judges, nurses, and we are one with all creation. We are Oneida! Let's celebrate who we are with a good mind, a good heart and a strong fire. Ukwehu.we ni'i (I am Oneida)

Posted by Oneida Nation on Wednesday, December 4, 2019

The Washington team on Monday announced that it would be retiring the mascot and logo. “Dan Snyder and Coach Rivera are working closely to develop a new name and design approach that will enhance the standing of our proud, tradition rich franchise and inspired our sponsors, fans and community for the next 100 years.”

The team had been under pressure to make a change. Recently, sponsor FedEx threatened to pull signage from the team’s stadium if Washington did not drop the mascot.

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