The Indian National Finals Rodeo, one of America's biggest sporting events for Native Americans, abruptly took a sponsorship deal with the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation off the table earlier this month, The Washington Post reports. The foundation, backed by Redskins owner Dan Snyder, blamed the withdrawal on interference by the Oneida Indian Nation, the tribe leading the movement to change the football team's name.
The rodeo, which filed for bankruptcy in 2010 and continues to have financial troubles, accepted $200,000 from the foundation last year and was in talks for a larger package. Four days after sending the foundation a letter seeking $527,000 in exchange for extensive placement of the Redskins logo at the November event in Las Vegas, rodeo leaders voted not to take money from the Snyder group and declared the team's name a racial slur, a move publicly hailed by the Oneida.
Foundation officials claim the Oneida Nation, which has significant casino wealth, engineered the switch, pledging to donate or raise the money the rodeo needed if it renounced the Redskins affiliation. The tribe and the rodeo deny any quid pro quo, saying the rodeo's decision was based on moral considerations, but rodeo officials did have interactions with Oneida representatives before and in the immediate wake of the move, according to the Post.