Oneida Indian Nation gives Obama jersey for name-change support

Posted Nov 13, 2013 by Marcus Hondro
U.S. Pres. Barack Obama has a new athletic jersey courtesy of the Oneida Indian Nation. A leader of the Oneida, Ray Halbritter, gave the jersey to Obama Tuesday for his support on the issue of eliminating the moniker 'Redskins' for sports teams.
Ray Halbritter  Oneida Nation representative  speaks at the Oneida Indian Nation  Change the Mascot ...
Ray Halbritter, Oneida Nation representative, speaks at the Oneida Indian Nation 'Change the Mascot' Symposium held Oct. 7 in Washington D.C.
Along with other First Nations groups, the Oneida would like to see the Washington Redskins of the NFL drop the 'Redskins' moniker and President Obama has voiced his support for their objections.
"I don't know whether our attachment to a particular name should override the real, legitimate concerns that people have about these things," Obama told the Associated Press last month. In that same interview, the President noted that were he the owner of the Washington franchise, he'd consider finding a new name.
Cooperstown Hawkeyes: "respectful and thoughtful"
Mr. Halbritter gave President Obama a Cooperstown Hawkeyes jersey; the Hawkeyes is the new name for athletic teams at the Cooperstown Central High-School in N.Y. state. Earlier this year the school changed from Redskins to Hawkeyes and the Oneida donated $10,000 to help them buy new uniforms. Student athletes at the school were instrumental in the name change and at the time Halbritter praised them.
"They're showing much more thoughtful and respectful initiatives than many of these wealthy major-league team owners," he told USA TODAY. "These wonderful kids have done such an inclusive, respectful and thoughtful thing."
Halbritter and other First Nations leaders met with the President Tuesday and talked of how the two-levels of government can work together in areas of economic development. In addition to giving him the jersey, the Oneida leader used the occasion to thank the President for his support on the name-change issue.
"It was a wonderful opportunity to express our gratitude, which is what I did," Halbritter told media after the meeting. "The president acknowledged it, he nodded, and applause spontaneously broke out around the table."
Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder has refused to change his team's name.