Mr. Snyder fancies himself a beneficent philanthropist. The Washington Post reports (http://wapo.st/1NLkKn1) that his Original Americans Foundation has spent millions of dollars on 220 projects with 50 tribes. On closer inspection, however, Mr. Snyder is a colonial master, using the oldest tricks in the book to divide and conquer tribes. The article further reports that the Paiute, Navajo, Zuni, and Cree tribes have had internal divisions and clashes regarding the name of the Washington professional football team. Moreover, the foundation projects mentioned in the article reveal a complete misunderstanding of community and economic development. The article mentions the foundation providing vans, shoes, coats, and playgrounds to the tribes. All nice things, but do any of these gifts promote job creation and economic development? If the foundation was serious, it would finance affordable housing, mixed use development, and small business start-ups and expansions. It would engage experts in the affordable housing and economic development field who would plan revitalization projects with the tribes. The efforts are not genuine economic development. They are simply divide and conquer. As one Native American puts it, "If the tribe accepts the gift, it lends the veneer of support...The strings attached are your dignity." If Mr. Snyder was sincere, he would change the name of his team and engage in real community development efforts through his foundation.
Josh Silver is one of the founders of RWF and is a life time fan that wants the name changed!