Redskins announce foundation to aid Native Americans


The Washington Redskins have launched a new initiative they hope will help improve the quality of life for tribal reservations across the country.

In a four-page open letter released Monday evening, Redskins owner Daniel Snyder announced the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation.

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"The mission of the Original Americans Foundation is to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities," Snyder wrote. "With open arms and determined minds, we will work as partners to begin to tackle the troubling realities facing so many tribes across our country."

According to Snyder, the Redskins traveled to 26 tribal reservations and met with 400 tribal leaders to learn about the issues facing Native Americans. The Redskins also took a survey of tribes across 100 reservations to better understand the most pressing needs in each community.

Snyder explained that efforts are already underway, including the distribution of over 3,000 cold-weather coats to several tribes in the Plains region, as well as shoes to players on boys and girls basketball teams. The team also assisted in the purchase of a new backhoe for the Omaha Tribe in Nebraska.

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Snyder said the Redskins have over forty additional projects currently in process.

"I've listened. I've learned. And frankly, it's heart wrenching," Snyder wrote. "It's not enough to celebrate the values and heritage of Native Americans. We must do more."

The Redskins have received a significant level of criticism for their nickname, considered by some to be derogatory in nature toward Native Americans. Snyder has long defended the Redskins name and has shown no inclination to change it.

Snyder's letter comes six months after the owner sent another letter to Redskins season-ticket holders in which he reminisced about attending his first Redskins game with his father and provided statistical data that show a large majority of fans -- including Native Americans -- don't want a name change.

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