Oneida Nation requests meeting with all NFL owners
NEW YORK (AP) - Representatives of the Oneida Indian Nation have requested a meeting with all 32 NFL owners during Super Bowl week, hoping to persuade them to get the Washington franchise to drop the nickname Redskins.
Ray Halbritter, an Oneida representative and leader of the ''Change the Mascot Campaign,'' said Wednesday that his group asked in a meeting with NFL executives that Commissioner Roger Goodell and Redskins owner Daniel Snyder ''visit our homelands.''
The Oneidas also asked for an amendment to league bylaws to prohibit franchises from naming a team with any term that is a racial epithet. Halbritter says the dictionary defines the word `redskins' precisely like that.
And Halbritter's group asked Goodell to `use his power to force Snyder to the league executive committee for possible sanctions' should the team continue to use the name.
''We met at the request of Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Nation,'' the NFL said in a statement. ''We listened and respectfully discussed the views of Mr. Halbritter, Oneida Nation Wolf Clan Representative Keller George and their colleagues as well as the sharply differing views of many other Native Americans and fans in general. The meeting was part of an ongoing dialogue to facilitate listening and learning, consistent with the commissioner's comments earlier this year.
The NFL was represented at the meeting by senior vice president Adolpho Birch and execytuve vice presidents Jeff Pash and Paul Hicks,
The Oneida Indian Nation, which has approximately 1,000 enrolled members, is one of 566 federally recognized sovereign Native American nations, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior/Indian Affairs.