Indigenous Right Group Protests Kansas City Chiefs Mascot Before Super Bowl LV

Indigenous Right Group Protests Kansas City Chiefs Mascot Before Super Bowl LV

Posted By Baley Champagne February 7th, 2021 Last Updated on: February 11th, 2021

Ahead of the kickoff for Super Bowl LV on Sunday, a local group staged a protest at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Raymond James Stadium to urge the team to ditch the Kansas City Chiefs mascot out of respect for Native Americans. 

The St. Petersburg-based Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality, or FIREE, gathered at the stadium at 4 p.m. E.S.T. The details were released shortly before the game on a Facebook page the group created for the event, which is called “WHERE IS THE HONOR?”

“As we move through the 21st century it is time America began to respect the Indigenous Peoples. No other group of human beings suffers the weekly indignity of both racial and spiritual stereotypes trivializing and degrading their culture in a circus-like atmosphere. No other groups are racially trivialized into a mascot,” the group said.

Indigenous people see their culture and spirituality appropriated and imitated by fans who wear headdresses and war paint and swing their arms in an “arrowhead chop.” 

Alicia Norris, the group’s co-founder, told the Associated Press that the chop is “extremely disrespectful” and equates Native Americans to “savages.”

“We ask all Human Beings to recognize that American Indians are Human Beings, not sports team mascots for America’s fun and games,” she said.

The use of Native American names, mascots, logos, and imagery in American sports is nothing new. It has perpetuated a Hollywood portrayal of Native American culture, allowing teams and their fans to use songs, ceremonies, tribal political organization, clothing, and symbolism to create a pseudo-Native culture around their non-Native organizations. 

Some students at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, were among those who called for the organization to make some changes to the Chiefs' mascot before the 2020 season started. 

“Using the mascot and having this fan base predominantly White people wearing face paint and headdresses and doing the tomahawk chop, and it energizes them and gives them this sense of power, and then thinking there is nothing wrong with doing that is just mind-boggling to me,” said former student government president William Wilkinson, who is Navajo, Cherokee, Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara. “It dehumanizes us and gives us Native Americans this picture of being this savage beast that is hungry for fighting when in real life we are nothing like that.” 

According to the National Congress of American Indians, the intolerance and harm promoted by the Chiefs and other “Indian” sports mascots, logos or symbols, has very real consequences for Native people. 

The Chiefs' mascot, logo, and imagery figures to be a source of controversy, well beyond the conclusion of the 2020 NFL season. 

 


Home » Blog » Indigenous Right Group Protests Kansas City Chiefs Mascot Before Super Bowl LV

About Baley Champagne

About PowWows.com - Founded in 1996, PowWows.com is your online gathering for all things Native American culture. Explore American Indian Culture through articles, interviews, videos, photos, and live streaming.



TAGGED:    Kansas City Chiefs    native mascots    super bowl LV  

10 thoughts on “Indigenous Right Group Protests Kansas City Chiefs Mascot Before Super Bowl LV

  1. MaryStarshine Matlock says:

    WHERE ARE MY COMMENTS? THOUGHT THEY WERE IMPORTANT, TIMELY AND UPLIFTING.

  2. Michael D. Cooper says:

    I m part Native American, And I take pride in any of the native American symbols I see. I was stationed in Korea under the Indian Head Patch and would hate to see it not used anymore. I think this is being blown out of proportion. We need to focus on more important issues. I’m part Cherokee and take great pride in my heritage.

    • MaryStarshine Matlock says:

      Dear Michael,

      I COULD say I’m “part” Native American, but under Cherokee law, that would not be quite right as I am descended under Matrilineal Law from my Maternal Grandmother which gives me full status. I do not live on nor was I ever raised on a reservation, although a female cousin under the same line as I am lived on a reservation at the end of her life.

      In any event I am a Proud Native who didn’t even believe my mother and her family pictures that she would show me every year, until recently, when I had a “comeuppance”, in a vision of my Native ancestors, recently and now nearer to the end of my life…which I hope is still far away .. 🙂 !.

      Long story… I’ll move on. The point is that I DO understand where you are coming from. But I choose to take BOTH SIDES in little, different ways.

      1. Seeing what we see as positive Native emblems in the larger worldview IS “encouraging” esp. when our living conditions have kept us estranged. May our larger populations learn to understand that.

      2. However! After seeing the photo here and I MEAN HERE! for I live in St. Petersburg just a few blocks from the stadium where the event took place, even “I” am OFFENDED! Who wants to see A WHITE MAN in Native dress and BARE WHITE CHEST ???, etc. Perhaps the picture would not be quite so offensive if the skin of the man had been painted with red makeup making him look more genuine…? oy vey! otherwise it’s insulting! ….looking like a cheap costume getup for Halloween!

      As for Natives for mascots of American sports… there are a number of them: The Cleveland Indians (where I grew up), The (Atlanta?) Braves, etc. (I’m not a big sports fan, only hockey).

      If these above mascots are portrayed as Brave and Proud and Treasured by their teams, how is THAT OFFFENSIVE???

      Yes! many sports teams have ANIMALS for their mascots. But what TRUE Native American, would look down upon an animal??? We treasure animals and their WISDOM!!! Just because they speak a different language, and sometimes provide us with food, STILL WE RESPECT AND HONOR THEM!!!

      So I would like ALL TRUE NATIVE AMERICANS to search their Souls and tell ME that THEY look down on animals and find them inferior!!! THAT’S THE WHITE MAN’S TRAP!! ONLY A WHITE MAN LOOKS DOWN ON OTHER CREATURES.. AND I’M NOT A WHITE MAN!!! I love and respect every living thing!!!

      HAVE YOU ALL BEEN BRAINWASHED TO BECOME LIKE THE WHITE MAN???

      PLEASE RECONSIDER YOUR ANSWER!!! PLEASE BE A PROUD NATIVE …. LIKE ME!!!!

      MaryStarshine Matlock

  3. I agree, they should have been made to leave, for it is disrespect, to our native people, and Indigenous natives, for this wasn’t right at all to allow this, wado Running Doe

    • May-Rita Condon says:

      May I ask to see your post? It is cut off at the right.
      Are you Native American by DNA?
      And does this offend you?
      How do most Native Americans feel about this?
      What do your leaders say is top be done?

      • MaryStarshine Matlock says:

        Dear May-Rita,

        Please check out my personal and DNA inspired reply to a Part Native Man.

        Hope you like it…

        MSM

    • If the mascots portraying indigenous native Americans is hurtful all symbols and names such as braves sachems and Indian should be removed nationally including many high schools across America. John takis

  4. M.E.Jones says:

    During the Super Bowl the NFL pledged to ‘combat systemic racism’ with $250 million dollars over ten years. They need to start in their own backyard!

  5. Igmusapa says:

    Fully support the WE ARE NOT MASCOT movement
    In that the Black Lives Matter
    Our relatives the Black people are getting heard and that is a blessing!!
    WHAT ABOUT US!!
    WHAT ABOUT THE PAPAL BULLS
    AND DOCTRINES OF DISCOVERY
    WHAT ABOUT THE FEDERAL INDIAN REGULATIONS????
    WHAT ABOUT US!!!
    let’s get real and address
    JOHNSON VS MACINTOSH
    AND THE
    MARSHAL TRILOGIES
    Come on people
    Where are the federal Chinese regulations
    Where are the federal Italian regulations
    WHY ARE INDIGENOUS PEOPLE THE ONLY KNES IN THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERIOR???? next to cattle and dogs…
    Papal bulls say hunt them down and kill them if they do t submit this who do will be sovereign! Sovereignty is not freedom! Sovereignty makes indigenous people less than human…. no matter how much coin is in the bank… stop genocide!!

    • MaryStarshine Matlock says:

      Dear Igmusaka,

      Please check out my response to this question, above.

      Yes, Native peoples have been abused in the past and I am not a big fan of the white man even though I have some in my family…my family were the good guys from both sides, TG. And I am proud of ALL of My Family!

      I ask that you do NOT desert the divinity of your own race by acting like a race whose actions have been questionable or worse.

      BE A RED MAN OR WOMAN WE CAN ALL BE PROUD OF…

      As for the Black Man, he is my best friend… but on this score he has no place, for he is like the White Man when it comes to his respect for our Animal Friends. Personally, I feel this makes the Red Man the BEST MAN in his treatment of ALL OF CREATION and especially in his stance with and for Nature and the Animals!

      BE A RED MAN OR WOMAN…. PLEASE!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Email Series: What to Expect at Your First Pow Wow

shares