Stop the chop. As the Kansas City Chiefs prepare for Saturday’s playoff game against New England, one indigenous group is asking fans to stop the famous Tomahawk chop.
“It’s a stereotype, it’s a fabricated notion,” said Dr. Daniel Wildcat, an indigenous and American Indian studies professor at Haskell Indian Nations University.
In recent years, controversy has swirled around sporting teams, mascots and team traditions. Native American activists have demanded the Washington Redskins football team be renamed and Kansas City Chiefs fan refrain from dressing up.
“We do find it incredibly disrespectful when a non-native tries to dress up like a chief,” Wildcat said. “It’s an act. It’s more than just putting on a hat.”
Last year, the Chiefs partnered with the American Indian Center of the Great Plains to help honor traditions, including blessing the war drum hit before each game. Now, Wildcat and others are hoping fans can change their ways.
“Those kinds of grotesque characters of who we are, are offensive to people who’ve struggled mightily in the United States to maintain cultural language, ceremony and song,” said Wildcat.
“Our culture was denied of us. It was beat out of us. It was told it was uncivilized, it was wrong,” said Lolita Ceja, a student at Haskell Indian Nations University.