Published On: Thu, Apr 17th, 2014

Navajo Navajo President slams the National Indian Gaming Association

Shelly speaking at ASU. Photo/Rick Abasta.

CHANDLER, Ariz. — Navajo Nation radio station KTNN and Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation sponsored a celebrity golf tournament earlier this week to help raise scholarship money for Native American college students.

The National Indian Gaming Association and the Notah Begay III Foundation ditch the fund raising event after learning Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder organization co-sponsored it and Navajo President didn’t hold back after learning one of the group ended their support for tournament, he took aim at NIGA.

“We’d like to say thank you to the sponsors. I believe we lost one sponsor, which is National Indian Gaming Association. I’m very disappointed in them,” Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly said at a public speech he gave at the tournament.

The NIGA Chairman Ernest Steven, Jr. issued a statement after they pull their sponsorship and said, “To ensure the integrity of our 30 year old association and our tribal nations, we have pulled our sponsorship from this golf tournament, which has just recently announced a partnership with the newly created Washington football team’s Original Americans Foundation,” Stevens said. “When we agreed to be a sponsor to benefit Native American College Scholarships and Youth there was no mention of the involvement of the Washington football team.”

Steven said they stand by their statements and said the team’s name is offensive and is a racial slur.

Jacqueline Keeler, founder of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry told Indian Country Today, “I think it is unfortunate the Navajo Nation administration of Ben Shelly is so out of step with the Navajo people, particularly, the young people, regarding this issue…”

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