Some colleagues have reacted negatively to my posts about Nike's N7 Fund (here and here), mostly saying that N7 has done a lot of good in Indian Country and thus shouldn't be criticized. Indeed, N7 has done some great work for Native communities. I appreciate the constructive feedback and respectful difference of opinion. To be clear, my criticisms are not intended to detract from that nobility, or to be made personal to anybody, or to encourage others to do so by any means.
But here's my point: We are not on the outside of the Redskins debate, looking in. By way of Nike N7 and Indian gaming's multi-billion dollar relationship with Bank of America (which nobody has defended to me), we are on the inside, looking out; staring ourselves in the mirror.
We now have the political relationships and buying power to help change the name from within The Establishment; to challenge Nike and BofA's silence and stance on the sidelines from within The Establishment. Because we are now part of The Establishment. Potentially game-changing Tribal alliances with N7 and BofA bear that out.
And with that Tribal power comes responsibility, particularly for those Indian ambassadors of The Establishment. In each our own way, whether in private circles or public forums, from behind the scenes or center stage, we are obliged to help, and not hinder, the name change. And especially from within, yes, we can change the name.
Gabriel “Gabe” Galanda is the Managing Partner at Galanda Broadman. He is a citizen of the Round Valley Indian Tribes. Gabe can be reached at 206.300.7801 or firstname.lastname@example.org.