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Open Letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Gary Edwards

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Dear Attorney General Holder:

I know I speak for many Native American law enforcement professionals in thanking you for your recent public stance on the Washington pro football team’s use of “redskins.” You have joined the ranks of President Obama, members of Congress, tribal members and many others. Use of the derogatory racist team name “redskins” can never be tolerated in a country that champions equality and justice for all people.

“To promote a positive attitude towards law enforcement in the American Indian community and other communities.” This is an objective of the National Native American Law Enforcement (NNALEA). The NNALEA logo includes the words Unity, Strength and Courage. In early 1993, the founding members of NNALEA carefully chose these words to express what NNALEA stands for. Unfortunately, the current head of NNALEA is well on the path of destroying NNALEA’s reputation and image.

Gary Edwards is currently the CEO of NNALEA. Several months ago team owner Dan Snyder hired Mr. Edwards to be CEO of his newly created Original Americans Foundation or more appropriately called OAF. The Arizona Republic today reports that the Quechan Tribe refused money from OAF to build a skate park. In the same article Mr. Edwards is also noted as CEO of NNALEA. It is a shame that a once proud Native American law enforcement group be associated with the racist name, “redskins.” Mr. Edwards proudly defends the use of “redskins” in his video introducing OAF. It is unbelievable that the head of a Native American law enforcement association would simultaneously promote the use of the racist “redskins” name. It is equally unbelievable that current NNALEA board of directors, all federal law enforcement officers, apparently approve and condone Mr. Edwards’ actions.

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The NNALEA website is promoting its annual Las Vegas meeting/training session in August. I respectfully request that you take action to ensure that no taxpayer money is used for federal employees to attend. Furthermore, until NNALEA severs its ties with Mr. Edwards, I truly hope that tribal and federal law enforcement boycott NNALEA.

I am also providing a copy of this open letter to Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell for consideration.

Again, thank you for stepping up and voicing your opinion, which is greatly appreciated by many.

Ted Quasula is a founding member of the National Native American Law Enforcement Association.