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April 03, 2015

Tribal Leader Sacked Over Ties to Redskins and Foundation

The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah dismissed its chairwoman Thursday for accepting gifts from the Washington Redskins, adding to the national controversy over the NFL team’s name and charitable support for Native Americans, the Associated Press and The Washington Post report. Gari Lafferty received a trip to Washington, game tickets, and an autographed football after responding to overtures from the Original Americans Foundation, which was established last year by the owner of the Redskins, Dan Snyder.

The Paiute tribal council said in a statement that Ms. Lafferty’s actions tied the approximately 940-member community to the team’s name, which is widely considered a slur. Activists calling on the team to change its name and logo contend that the foundation’s charitable support for reservations is aimed at reducing resistance to the name among tribes.

The Redskins charity has donated three vans to the Paiute. Ms. Lafferty said the perks from the team did not cause a stir within the tribe when she received them last fall. “We’re a part of the foundation for the good things they want to do to help,” she said. The Post says the fight sheds light on the foundation’s largely private courting of Native American groups.