Out of nowhere, Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder published a letter online to "Everyone in our Washington Redskins Nation" and if you think it's in regards to changing the controversial nickname, think again. Instead, Snyder used the lengthy letter to dicuss his last four month which include traveling to "26 Tribal reservations across twenty states to listen and learn first-hand about the views, attitudes, and experiences of the Tribes." Snyder's interactions with the people in the numerous reservations seemed pretty positive:
- “I appreciated your sincerity to learn about our culture and the real-life issues we face on a daily basis,” Pueblo of Zuni Governor Arlen Quetawki told us after we toured his reservation. “I look forward to working together with you to improve the lives of Native Americans in any way possible."
- “There are Native Americans everywhere that 100% support the name,” Torres-Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indians Chairwoman Mary L. Resvaloso told me when I came to visit her tribe. “I believe God has turned this around for something good.”
Snyder went on to drop some knowledge about the Native American community that you probably didn't know, like:
- The official poverty rate on reservations is 29 percent, as determined by the U.S. Census. 36 percent of families with children are below the poverty line on reservations, compared with 9 percent of families nationally. Jobs are scarce, and so is genuine opportunity.
- Rampant diabetes, alcohol and drug abuse, violence, and heightened suicide rates afflict Native American youth, adults, and veterans. Life expectancies in high poverty Native American communities are the lowest anywhere in the Western Hemisphere—except for Haiti.
These discoveries impacted Snyder so much so that he's now going to announce the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation tomorrow, which will "provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities." All in all, it's a nice gesture by Snyder, but is it enough to put the controversial nickname on the backburner? Probably not. Does it make Snyder seem a little bit nicer in your eyes? We'll leave that up to you.
[via Dan Snyder]