• Tribe’s campaign gains momentum

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    WASHINGTON: Battle lines were drawn on Monday over the name of Washington’s beloved American football team, after President Barack Obama indicated he’d favor something less racially charged than Redskins.

    The casino-rich Oneida tribe in New York state is spearheading a campaign to get the National Football League franchise to rebrand itself, just as NFL owners hold their fall meeting in the US capital.

    “It’s a dictionary-defined offensive term,” said Ray Halbritter, a prominent leader of the Oneida Indian Nation, at a symposium in Washington in the same hotel where NFL owners will be meeting this week.

    “When marketed by a professional sports team, it is a word that tells Native American children that they are to be denigrated—that they are second class citizens,” Halbritter said.

    Whether the Redskins should retain a name deemed “usually offensive” by the Merriam-Webster dictionary and “dated offensive” by the Oxford dictionary has been a festering issue in Washington for years.

    But it reached a new level when Obama, otherwise preoccupied with the US government shutdown, said in an interview published Saturday that “I’d think about changing” the name if he was the Redskins’ owner.

    AFP

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