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Oneida Nation Leader to Meet With UN Human Rights Office Days Before Super Bowl

Oneida Nation Leader to Meet With UN Human Rights Office Days Before Super Bowl
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The Oneida Indian Nation has announced a meeting with officials from the United Nations to discuss the human rights issues rose by the Washington NFL team’s usage of the racially insensitive R-word as its name and mascot. 

On Friday, Ray Halbritter, leader of the Change the Mascot campaign, is scheduled to meet with Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonovi? at U.N. Headquarters in Manhattan, the Oneida Indian Nation said in a press release.

“I am both humbled and heartened by the opportunity to have a dialogue with the UN regarding the important moral, human, and civil rights issues raised by the Washington NFL team’s continued use of the R-word racial slur,” said Halbritter in a news release. “It is extremely encouraging to see people across the country, as well as national and international leaders, recognizing the harmful impacts of using this term that denigrates Native peoples.”

The derogatory name of Washington’s NFL team has become a prominent civil rights issue. Members of Congress from both parties, city councils across America, top sports icons, leading journalists, faith leaders and even President Obama have spoken out against the continued use of the harmful epithet.

Last month, America’s human and civil rights coalition The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights unanimously passed a resolution urging Washington NFL team owner Dan Snyder to change the team’s offensive R-word mascot.

Dan Snyder has refused to change the team’s name.

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A grassroots movement led by the Oneida Indian Nation, Change the Mascot has aired radio advertisements throughout the NFL season in Washington and all cities where the D.C. team has played road games.

The movement plans to continue its push for a name change through the end of this season and into the 2014 NFL season as well.

During a news conference last year, Halbritter called on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to schedule a meeting between the Oneida Indian Nation and NFL team owners during Super Bowl week. As it stands, it is unclear whether that meeting will take place.

“This issue is not going away until the offensive name is retired,” said Halbritter. “It’s time for the NFL and Washington’s team to stop profiting from the continued use of a dictionary-defined racial slur and to place themselves on the right side of history by changing this offensive name.”