The Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe in Arizona turned down a blank check offered by Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder's foundation, calling it "bribe money" and saying the tribe doesn't want to be used as a prop to boost the reputation of the team, reports Arizona Central.
According to tribe member Kenrick Escalanti, Snyder's foundation offered them money to build a memorial skate park on their reservation in Yuma, Ariz. Even though Tribal Council members met twice with directors from the foundation, the Quechan Tribe ultimately decided to reject the money.
The tribe issued a statement:
"We will not align ourselves with an organization to simply become a statistic in their fight for name acceptance in Native communities. ... We know bribe money when we see it."
Snyder and the Redskins remain embroiled in a name controversy that has recently seen prominent figures such as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and the granddaughter of original Redskins owner George Preston Marshall argue that the team should change its name.
Snyder has repeatedly said he will never change the name, and the Redskins hold the stance that the team name honors Native Americans. Critics allege that the name is racist and offensive toward Native Americans.
Escalanti told the Central that the skate park renderings the foundation directors brought to the meetings were "corporate branding," filled with Redskins colors and the logo. He also did not like the way the foundation's executive director, Gary Edwards, who is Cherokee, spoke to the council:
"Edwards just brought up key words that you just don't bring up in Indian country, like assimilation, annihilation," Escalanti said. "I don't know what he thought he was doing in talking like that to us — impress us? Like he thought he could talk like that among his fellow Natives? It was so awkward."
- Molly Geary