Cultural appropriation in sports

ATLANTA- Since the 1960’s, there have been various protests and other movements by Native Americans in the United States and Canada, battling the harmful stereotypes associated with sports team’s mascots.

Atlanta Braves
Controversial Mascot

The Atlanta Braves, Chicago Blackhawks, Cleveland Indians, and the Washington Redskins are all examples of controversial sports teams with indigenous named mascots.

From 1966-1986, the team’s mascot was Chief Noc-a-Homa. Levi Walker, the man behind the costume, “dressed up in a chief’s war bonnet and face paint to perform a spirit dance on the mound before games. Walker would then sprint off toward a teepee in left field after his dance,” according to a CBS News article.

Although Chief Noc-a-Homa has been replaced by a walking baseball named Homer the Brave, when the team performs well on a play, fans resort to a cheer known as “the Tomahawk chop.”

Ultimately, many have decided that these names and references to Native culture is offensive to Native Americans. Legal action has been taken throughout the years to implement change both in major/minor league sports as well as at a high school level.

Fraser Breon

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