Native Americans protest Bartlesville Indian festival; say funds used are 'dirty'

Posted at 8:51 PM, Sep 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-16 23:48:34-04

Native Americans gathered in Bartlesville to protest a festival they said is funded with "dirty money."

Some Native Americans said the "Washington Redskins" football organization is shaming their culture at this weekend's Indian Summer Festival and Powoww at the Bartlesville Community Center.

It's s a rich culture that runs deep.

"Being native is when you wake up in the morning to when you go to bed at night," Alice Whitecloud, a founding member of the Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism, said.

It's something she said is not to be messed with.

"We're not sellout Indians, we are here to stay," Whitecloud said.

On Friday, protestors stood up in silence against what they call racial injustice within the Native American community.

"A Redskin is a dead skin, they're Indians who died," Whitecloud said.

The "Washington Redskins," notorious for their controversial name play a role in the protest.

The Tulsa Indian Coalition Against Racism said the Indian Summer Festival and Powwow is funded with dirty money.

"This powwow group ... solicited the Redskins and asked for money," Whitecloud said.

The chairwoman for the festival, Bonnie Jo Griffith, said this is true, but she isn't fazed by the name and accepted the donation.

"The Redskins ... it was never named to be offensive at all when they gave it that name, that was not the purpose," Griffith said.

She adds that this weekend's festival is about celebrating the culture and coming together as one,
and believes the protesters should focus on more serious issues.

"I was in North Dakota at Standing Rock this past weekend," Griffith said. "Two others and I drove a van up with supplies, they've got a problem up there, they're trying to save their water."

Although both sides disagree with the way the festival was handled, they can agree that Native Americans should stand for what they believe in.

2 Works for You did reach out to the Washington Redskins organization for comment on the matter, however, officials did not return phone calls.

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