WASHINGTON — The controversy over the Washington Redskins’ name has intensified over the past year, and on Monday team owner Dan Snyder has taken a step to signal that the team is engaged with the concerns of the Native American community at large.
In a letter released Monday night, the Redskins announced that they’re starting a foundation called the “Original American Foundation.”
Team owner Dan Snyder writes that he and his staff traveled to 26 tribal reservations over the past four months to speak with Native Americans, and were inspired to start the foundation to provide “genuine opportunities for Tribal communities.”
He adds that in addition to meeting with Native American communities, the team surveyed tribes in 100 reservations to learn of the needs in each community.
“Our efforts will address the urgent challenges plaguing Indian country based on what Tribal leaders tell us they need most,” Snyder writes.
He says they’ve already started by providing thousands of coats and also helping purchase new construction equipment, and adds that more than 40 more projects are in process.
Regarding the team’s name, Snyder maintains in the letter that “our team name captures the best of who we are and who we can be, by staying true to our history and honoring the deep and enduring values our name represents.”
He adds that in his travels, he has “been encouraged by the thousands of fans across the country who support keeping the Redskins tradition alive. Most – by overwhelming majorities – find our name to be rooted in pride for our shared heritage and values.”