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Yuma-Area Native Americans Blast Offer From Washington Redskins to Fund New Skate Park

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Members of the Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe say they refused a "bribe" from the Washington Redskins organization, which tribal members say offered a blank check to build a skate park in their community.

One of the tribal members who's trying to secure funding for the skate park gave his account of a meeting with Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, a group that fights against the use of Native Americans as mascots, in sports and elsewhere.

According to its statement:

On Wednesday, July 16, 2014 representatives from Washington Reds*ins owner Dan Snyder's foundation, Original Americans Foundation, met with the Fort Yuma Quechan (Kwatsan) Tribe today to offer them a blank check to build a memorial skate park. They even brought a park designer with renderings of the skate park in burgundy and gold. Tribal representatives refused the offer.

Tribal member Kenrick Escalanti, whose organization Kwatsan Media, Inc. is raising $250,000 to build The Quechan Memorial Skatepark was invited to present the funding needs for the project that seeks to help fight Native youth suicide said, "We say, no. There are no questions about this. We will not align ourselves with an organization to simply become a statistic in their fight for name acceptance in Native communities. We're stronger than that, and we know bribe money when we see it."

Tribal members were assured repeatedly that acceptance of the money would not imply support for the Redsk*ns name for which the Washington DC NFL franchise had its trademarks cancelled by by the US Patent and Trademark Office on June 18, 2014.

The statement continues to blast Snyder's foundation, and the representative the foundation sent to the Yuma area to meet with the tribe.

The Redskins' Original Americans Foundation website only lists a single contact e-mail address; we sent a message there seeking a response, and this post will be updated if we get one.

The Redskins organization and Snyder have been under a lot of pressure to change the team name, amid claims that it's racist.

On the OAF website is a letter from Snyder, saying how "our team name captures the best of who we are and who we can be, by staying true to our history and honoring the deep and enduring values our name represents."

"The mission of the Original Americans Foundation is to provide meaningful and measurable resources that provide genuine opportunities for Tribal communities," the letter says. "With open arms and determined minds, we will work as partners to begin to tackle the troubling realities facing so many tribes across our country. Our efforts will address the urgent challenges plaguing Indian country based on what Tribal leaders tell us they need most. We may have created this new organization, but the direction of the Foundation is truly theirs."

The Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe didn't take kindly to that offer.

Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry is seeking donations for the Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe to build that skate park, at quechanskate.com.

"Let's show Dan Snyder and the Redsk*ns organization that natives are quite capable of supporting and helping our own people without the use of their money," the organization's statement says.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX.
Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.

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