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Redskins owner to launch foundation for 'tribal communities'

President Obama said if he were the team owner he would seriously consider changing the name. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) President Obama said if he were the team owner he would seriously consider changing the name. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

A year of heightened pressure from everyone from President Barack Obama to local congressmen urging a name change for the controversial Redskins moniker has prompted team owner Dan Snyder to take action.

It may not be the kind of change for which some are hoping, however; according to a letter released by the team this week, the embattled owner is launching a foundation specifically aimed at providing "meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities."

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The decision comes after Snyder took a tour of 26 tribal communities across 20 states "to listen and learn first-hand about the views, attitudes, and experiences of the Tribes," according to the letter, which said he realized from the trip that members of those communities "need action, not words."

"We were invited into their homes, their Tribal Councils and their communities to learn more about the extraordinary daily challenges in their lives. ... The more I heard, the more I've learned, and the more I saw, the more resolved I became about helping to address the challenges that plague the Native American community. In speaking face-to-face with Native American leaders and community members, it's plain to see they need action, not words."

The league continues to hear opinions on the matter, from the Oneida Nation which has called for the Redskins name to change, to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying earlier this year that 9 out of 10 Americans currently support the team's name.  To that point, Snyder said in May 2013 that he will never change the name, which, in his opinion, is not a racial slur but a tribute to tribal communities.

"The Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation will serve as a living, breathing legacy -- and an ongoing reminder -- of the heritage and tradition that is the Washington Redskins."

This past January, the Oneida Nation scheduled a meeting with human rights advocates from the United Nations to discuss the name after the season had wrapped up. The Oneida Nation had also aired a series of ads blasting the name and called for Snyder to change it immediately. The ads aired over various radio stations in Washington D.C. and other NFL cities during the season.

President Obama had also chimed in, saying if he were the team owner, he would give serious thought to changing the longstanding name of the team.

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