Senecas respond to Washington NFL name change

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Buffalo, NY (WBEN) It's no longer Hail to the Redskins, as Washington's NFL team changes its name. The Seneca Nation released a statement saying while they're pleased the change has come, the motivations may not be purely out of respect.

"After decades of perpetuating and promoting an offensive and racist nickname, change has finally come to the football franchise in Washington. It is a change that is long overdue. The Seneca people and Indigenous people everywhere are appreciative of the fact that this change is finally being made," says Seneca President Rickey Armstrong. "Yet, it is clear that the team’s ownership did not make this decision out of respect and decency toward Indigenous people, who have been calling for this change for many years. Ultimately, it was the financial pressure exerted by corporations and the possible hit on the team’s wallet that drove the decision. We appreciate that companies like Nike, FedEx and others stood up to force the issue toward its rightful conclusion."

Armstrong adds, "Whatever the reason, we are happy that the change is being made, and we hope that the team will engage the Native American community in a meaningful way as they create a new identity. If there was ever a moment to make a statement about how we can start to successfully move beyond the caricature and negative representations of Native culture, this is it. An organization that performs on a global stage and is based in the nation’s capital has the platform to make that statement. Not doing so would be a missed opportunity. The change in Washington should not be an isolated occurrence. The use of Native American names and imagery needs to be looked at in a comprehensive manner.  Communities, organizations and institutions at every level across the country should start those important conversations and heed the call for positive change.”