Since football season started, the Oneida Indian Nation has been pressuring the Washington Redskins to change their mascot. They say it is offensive to Native Americans, but their owner is refusing to make any changes. Our Candace Hopkins tells us about the political message the Oneidas are now using in hopes of swaying public opinion.
UNITED STATES -- "We aren't asking for anything more than simple respect. No one deserves to be treated with racial slurs."
Radio ads like this one have been running for weeks in hopes of building public pressure in favor of a name and mascot change by the Washington Redskins. This week, Oneida leadership will launch their fourth ad of the series. It features comments from President Obama and a Republican Congressman from Oklahoma.
"Here's what President Obama said of the current name, 'I'd think about changing it.' Senior Republican Congressman Tom Cole told a national television audience 'the name is just simply inappropriate, it is offensive to a lot of people,' I'm Ray Halbritter of the Oneida Indian Nation, this country may still be politically divided, but as leading voices in both parties this week said, we should all be able to agree that racial slurs are unacceptable."
It will start airing in the Dallas area Saturday, ahead of the Cowboys-Redskins matchup.
All along, Redskins owner Dan Snyder has refused to make any changes and a lawyer advising the team has accused the Oneidas of "selective attention" by focusing on them and ignoring other teams with similar names.
Halbritter responded by saying, ''The name of Washington's team is a dictionary defined, offensive racial epithet. Those other names aren't."
And in the radio ad, he says his people are simply looking to be treated like everyone else.
"We deserve to be treated simply as we all are, Americans."
The Oneidas have invited NFL officials to discuss the campaign on their land in Upstate New York. A meeting has been scheduled for next month.
Earlier this year, the Oneidas gave the Cooperstown School District $10,000 to help with expenses as they changed their mascot. They were previously called the Redskins, but are now the Hawkeyes.