Editor's note: The text of the letter to Zuni artists is genuine and does come from the Governor's office of Zuni Pueblo. It can be found at the Zuni Pueblo Facebook page. However, an image of the letter provided to ICTMN included the Redskins logo, thereby implying the Redskins organization had some hand in writing or approving the text. ICTMN has reason to believe that this was not the case. We have edited our story, slightly, to reflect this possibility, and are now including the image of the letter that came directly from the Zuni Facebook page.
On Monday, August 11, representatives of the Washington Redskins will be visiting Zuni Pueblo, but they're not coming to build a skate park or hand out blankets.
They want Native-made artwork and crafts, particularly stuff that promotes the Redskins team brand. A letter bearing the logo of Zuni Pueblo has invited artists to show their wares at the Zuni Tribal Conference room. After providing some details, the letter ends with the instructions "Be respectful when you arrive. Do not smell of alcohol, marijuana, or be under the influence."
On Twitter, Last Real Indians gave the following interpretation: "Hey Indians, we want to buy your trinkets esp if they have Redskins logo. but don't show up drunk or high -Dan Snyder"
"'Be respectful when you arrive.' Is there any self-awareness there?" responded another Twitter user.
"We have a very depressed economy and the (tribal) governor wanted to help local Zuni artists," a tribal administrator told USA Today. She added that she believed that, unlike haggling dealers or tourists, the Original Americans Foundation would pay full asking price for the items.
Many Natives are outraged, by both the concept of soliciting art from Natives that bears an anti-Native slur and the letter's patronizing final lines. The USA Today writer cites another irony: The NFL is known for being aggressive about shutting down unlicensed merchandise. Artists who show up on Monday with Redskins-themed work will be hoping the team gives them money; under normal circumstances, they'd receive a cease-and-desist letter from NFL lawyers.
Here's the letter distributed to artists: