Oneida Indian Nation Applauds Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for Opposing D.C. NFL Team Name

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The Oneida Indian Nation today praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for placing himself on the right side of history by calling for a name change from Washington’s NFL team. Reid joins a growing chorus of religious, educational, civil rights and bipartisan political leaders who have united in support of the Change the Mascot campaign.

We live in a society where you can’t denigrate a race of people. And that’s what that is.

The Oneida Indian Nation today thanked Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid for speaking out against the name of Washington’s NFL team, which he said “denigrate[s] a race of people.” Reid has joined a powerful and diverse group of Washington lawmakers from both sides of the aisle who have called for a name change.

A bipartisan group of leaders in Washington including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Representatives Tom Cole, Betty McCollum and Eleanor Holmes Norton have also taken a stand against the R-word, as has President Obama. The D.C. Council has unanimously passed a resolution calling on its hometown football team to drop its offensive mascot.

“I think [Washington team owner Daniel] Snyder is so short-sighted on this,” Reid said in an interview with The Hill. “We live in a society where you can’t denigrate a race of people. And that’s what that is. I mean, you can’t have the Washington Blackskins. I think it’s so short-sighted.”

Change the Mascot is a growing national grassroots movement urging the team to end its use of the R-word. While running radio ads in each city where the D.C. team plays away games, Change the Mascot has garnered increasing support from not only political leaders, but also religious groups, Native American tribes, schools and school boards and top civil rights organizations.

Just last week, leading civil rights coalition The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights passed a resolution urging the Washington NFL team to change its offensive name. The Houston school board also voted recently to end the use of the racially-insensitive R-word in its district.

“I would like to express my gratitude and appreciation to Senate Majority Leader Reid for speaking out boldly against racial intolerance and bigotry,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter. “On behalf of the Oneida Indian Nation and the Change the Mascot campaign, I thank Senator Reid for opposing the R-word and standing up for what is right. Demands for change from America’s top leaders give energy to our Change the Mascot movement, and they inspire us to push ahead with our calls for the Washington team and the NFL to finally place themselves on the right side of history.”

Learn more about the Change the Mascot campaign and follow us on Twitter.

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Brett Stagnitti
Oneida Indian Nation
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