Walter “Blackie” Wetzel was Don’s father, a Blackfeet Nation political leader who a half-century ago was the president of the National Congress of American Indians. Blackie, who was a great athlete in his day, became well-acquainted with Montana leaders like Mike Mansfield and Lee Metcalf.
In the early 1970s, Blackie approached ownership of the Redskins and proposed designing a helmet logo. “He did it the right way,” said Don. “It wasn’t some thrown together, fly-by-night deal. It’s something that represents the Red Nation in a positive way.” And, he said, it doesn’t matter if many see it as offensive. "Here’s the deal,” Don said. “Blackie was a smart egg. He called in leaders from other tribes and they worked on it a long time. They modeled it after the likeness on the ‘Buffalo Head nickel.’ ”
Don, a great athlete himself at Cut Bank and the University of Montana who later coached high school and college basketball, recalled the reaction his father received when unveiling the new logo. “They said it was perfect,” he said. Don’t suggest to Don Wetzel that the logo, or Redskins nickname for that manner, is derogatory whatsoever. “No, no, no, no,” he said.