Native American Activists Renew Call for Chiefs to Drop Name, End Tomahawk Chop

As Chiefs fans prepare to don their team’s signature gear (featuring their team name and signature arrowhead) and perform their famous “Tomahawk Chop” on Super Bowl Sunday, a group of Native American activists are working to ensure they never get to do it again.

Activist Rhonda LeValdo, a native of Kansas City, is leading an organization called “Not in Our Honor.” The group aims to end the use of Native American nicknames, imagery, and mascots in sports.

LeValdo is in Las Vegas along with other activists to protest the Chiefs’ use of Native American imagery and nicknames.

“I’ve spent so much of my personal time and money on this issue. I really hoped that our kids wouldn’t have to deal with this,” LeValdo said. “But here we go again.”

Native activists and their supporters on the far left have had much success in forcing sports franchises to drop their nicknames. In 2020, the Washington Redskins re-named themselves the Washington Football Team after the death of George Floyd. The following year, activists convinced the Cleveland Indians to drop their name and signature mascot, Chief Wahoo.

The Chiefs and the Atlanta Braves are the last two major American sports franchises to have Native American nicknames and imagery.

Kansas City Chiefs logo inside Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Kansas City Chiefs football team, in Kansas City, Missouri, on August 12, 2017. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)
Fans of the Atlanta Braves do the Tomahawk Chop during their game against the Houston Astros in game one of the National League Divisional Series on October 6, 2004, at Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Kansas City did, however, discontinue its mascot “Warpaint” in 2021.

According to LeValdo, she is driven to activism by the persecution and pain her ancestors endured.

“We weren’t even allowed to be Native American. We weren’t allowed to practice our culture. We weren’t allowed to wear our clothes,” she said. “But it’s OK for Kansas City fans to bang a drum, to wear a headdress, and then to act like they’re honoring us? That doesn’t make sense.”

As of this writing, neither the Chiefs nor the Braves plan to change their name.

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