Indians bid farewell to Washington Redskins and Cleveland: More teams are giving up the most famous Native American icons in American sports, but its imprint remains strong, especially with the Kansas City Chiefs, on their way to the Super Bowl, the National Football League (NFL) final on Sunday. The Redskins, the Washington NFL team, took 87 years to drop that name.Racism and contempt“, according to the Navajo Nation.
After decades of activism, and the spring of Black Lives Matter protests, “cancellation culture” (carrying culture) has reached an unprecedented level in all strata of American society. Even the capital club’s major economic partners, such as FedEx, joined the fray and threatened to pull out. In mid-December, the Cleveland professional baseball team rejected the Indians name and, like Washington, decided to take time to find a successor.
Of the four major professional leagues in the United States, only the Atlanta Braves (baseball), Chicago Blackhawks (ice hockey) and Kansas City Chiefs (soccer) still borrow Native American cues. In late August, just before the current NFL season, the Chiefs officially banned spectators from wearing feathered headdresses and any makeup that evokes “Native Americans.” Not descended from Native Americans, but former Kansas City Mayor H. The team name many fans remember is Roe Bartley’s nickname “The Leader”.
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‘Less Visible’ Racism
But the former white city councilman wanted to adorn himself with a headdress and created a Boy Scout troop with a name and symbols loosely inspired by Native American traditions. Like the Blackhawks or Braves, the Chiefs, who did not respond to AFP’s request, do not plan to change their name. Chicago, which chose its name in honor of Sauk chief Black Hawk, seeks a “conversation” with the Native American community. He specifically collaborates with the Trickster Cultural Center, a cultural center located in Illinois.
The Chief Blackhawks gave the Chicago NHL team its name and logo.
Credits: Getty Images
Some Native American Chiefs fans, especially on social media, believe the club doesn’t have to give up its name. “I don’t believe they did anything for social justice or being less racist“Kaylene Kreuzer, executive director of the Kansas City Indian Center, said of the chiefs’ ban on hairstyles and makeup.It’s less visible, that’s all“, she says.
This season, we once again marched to a big drum at every home game, and the public’s marching gesture always mimicked the tomahawk. Stephanie Fryberg, a researcher at the University of Michigan, has shown that Native American symbols can affect the self-esteem of teenagers from these minorities and their view of this community.
Tip of the iceberg
“People’s tolerance will decrease in this matter“Caileen Kreuzer warns that she sees too much support for the Native American cause.”It’s better to be active, to say ‘we’re stopping everything’ (…) than to act piecemeal..” And professional sports are only the tip of the iceberg. According to the specialized site MascotDB, more than 1,600 sports teams still have a Native American reference symbol. For example, in the United States there are still 125 teams called Redskins. , 855 Indians and 189 Chiefs.
The cliché of the proud and heroic Indian willing to do anything for his tribe, unrelated to Native Americans, has inspired American sports for more than a century. This phenomenon of cultural appropriation, moreover, coincides with a fundamental movement to assimilate Amerindians and destroy their heritage. In Colorado, the La Veta school team has renamed its mascot the RedHawks, ditching the Redskins.
Seven years ago, supporters of the change “Brutally beaten“Eleanor Foley, president of the school committee, recalled that “enemies at a public meeting. This time, she took advantage of the visit to the new campus to put the issue of the symbol back on the agenda, where the film would end. There were still heated debates on the football field and in the gymnasium, but “Consensus is not the same“For the majority,”We had to change our logo“.
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