Ray Halbritter, Nation Representative and CEO of Oneida Nation Enterprises, has spoken out in an op-ed piece for the NY Daily News, called â??Get That Indian Off Your Uniform,â?? about the need to address the inherent racism that comes with having a Native American as a school or team mascot.
The piece is a continuation of the news from February 7 that students at the Cooperstown Central Schools voted to drop their â??Redskinsâ?? moniker for something more racially-friendly.
Halbritter was impressed with the studentâ??s decision; so much so that he offered to help defray the cost that changing a mascot and name that has been in place since the 1920â??s.
Halbritter applauded the courage of the Cooperstown students, calling to a Native American proverb about how the Great Spirit often reveals to children things that older people miss. He is calling for the United States as a whole to take notice of what these enlightened children are doing, saying â??â?¦multi-million dollar franchisesâ?¦can learn from the students of Cooperstown Central.â??
Can the changes of one school make a statement to billionaire owners and millionaire trustees of pro sports teams and universities across the nation? In the age of social media and instant news, it seems like just the kind of thing that could cause viral change of something that, in the views of the Oneida Nation, generalize and belittle a culture and people.