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Oneida Nation: Taxpayers Can’t Pay to Help Redskins Profit Off of ‘Racial Slur’

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Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative, speaks at a press conference after meeting with senior officials of the National Football League about changing the mascot name of the Washington Redskins October 30, 2013 in New York. The Oneida Nation's 'Change The Mascot' campaign is pressing the NFL to change the Washington team's name. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Credit; STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

Ray Halbritter, Oneida Indian Nation Representative, speaks at a press conference after meeting with senior officials of the National Football League about changing the mascot name of the Washington Redskins October 30, 2013 in New York. The Oneida Nation’s ‘Change The Mascot’ campaign is pressing the NFL to change the Washington team’s name. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Credit; STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) – Taxpayer resources cannot be used to help private companies profit off the promotion of dictionary defined racial slurs, is the position of the Oneida Indian Nation in a press release issued in the wake of the U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s ruling to revoke the Redskins six federal trademarks.

“The U.S. Patent Office has now restated the obvious truth that Native Americans, civil rights leaders, athletes, religious groups, state legislative bodies, Members of Congress and the president have all echoed: taxpayer resources cannot be used to help private companies profit off the promotion of dictionary defined racial slurs,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative Ray Halbritter and NCAI Executive Director Jackie Pata in a joint statement.

“If the most basic sense of morality, decency and civility has not yet convinced the Washington team and the NFL to stop using this hateful slur, then hopefully today’s patent ruling will, if only because it imperils the ability of the team’s billionaire owner to keep profiting off the denigration and dehumanization of Native Americans.”

The statement also shed light on the efforts of Suzan Shown Harjo, who filed the initial trademark lawsuit against the Redskins name in 1992, which was later dismissed on a technicality, essentially because multiple plaintiffs waited too long after turning 18-years-old to file.

“On behalf of the Oneida Indian Nation, the Change the Mascot campaign and NCAI, we would like to sincerely thank Suzan Shown Harjo and Amanda Blackhorse for their tireless efforts that helped lead to today’s historic milestone,” Halbritter and Pata said.

More from the press release:

This momentous ruling from the USPTO comes on the heels of 50 U.S. Senators sending a letter to NFL officials demanding a name change, the unanimous passage of a New York State resolution calling on pro sports leagues to end their use of racial slurs, and 77 Native American, religious and civil rights organizations sending a letter to all NFL players encouraging them to stand up against the R-word name.  It also follows a growing chorus of Change the Mascot support from top political leaders across the country, including city councils, mayors, governors, and even the President of the United States.  Faith leaders, sports icons, journalists, publications and Native American tribes have also taken a strong stance against the Washington team’s continued use of the offensive R-word.

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