When Dan Snyder announced this week the creation of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation, the purpose of which is basically “hey, let’s do some nice things for Native Americans”, his detractors interpreted this obviously magnanimous gesture as a cynically timed effort to deflect the mounting criticism of the Redskins name. Perhaps because Snyder has owned the team for 15 years and has just now discovered the value of philanthropy.
Anyway, the foundation being a Dan Snyder operation, there would inevitably be more bad things to follow. With a little digging by The Washington Post, it’s been revealed that Gary L. Edwards, the head of new Original Americans Foundation, was the subject of a federal investigation for bilking the Bureau of Indian Affairs out of nearly a $1 million.
Gary L. Edwards is the chief executive of the National Native American Law Enforcement Association, which won a contract in 2009 with the Bureau [of Indian Affairs] that called for recruiting Native Americans to work in law enforcement in Indian country.
The investigation, outlined in a 2012 inspector general’s report, found that of the 748 applications the organization supplied, none were usable. One applicant was 80 years old. Several were not U.S. citizens. Of the 514 applications reviewed by the inspector general’s office, only 22 were of Indian descent. The inspector general’s office advised that the contract be terminated immediately, and it was, but by that time the organization had been paid $967,100 of the $1 million contract.
Not good at doing his job but good at making money? There’s a Snyder man if ever I saw one.
Edwards, himself a Cherokee, says he has no issue with the Redskins name. The team issued a statement that indicates that Edwards believes his association fulfilled the terms of the government contract, though auditors don’t seem to agree.
The report said the association’s proposal stated it would “refer 500 ‘qualified candidates’ to serve in law enforcement positions at various Indian reservations.” In the end, 104 applicants were either too young or too old, several did not have driver’s licenses, and 47 lacked the educational requirements, according to the report’s findings, which were first reported in USA Today.
Edwards had also told the bureau’s human resources deputy director that he would focus his recruitment efforts in Indian country, according to the report. But only about four percent of the applicants were Native American.
Between this and getting a fake Indian chief to vouch for the positive legacy of the Redskins name, it’s almost as though Dan Snyder doesn’t like to bother scrutinizing his potential defenders. Or he just assumes the public is too dim to notice.