Native American group renews calls for Chiefs to drop name, logo as Super Bowl LVIII start looms

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As nan Kansas City Chiefs hole to compete successful Sunday's Super Bowl, a group of Native Americans is renewing their telephone for nan squad to driblet its name, mascot and fan-driven "tomahawk chop" ritual.

Activist Rhonda LeValdo is 1 of nan individuals starring nan conflict to spot nan usage of Native American imagery and references successful sports travel to an end. She is nan laminitis of a Kansas City-based group called Not In Our Honor. 

LeValdo and dozens of Indigenous activists person traveled to Las Vegas, nan tract of Super Bowl LVIII, to protestation and request nan squad change its nickname, wantonness its logo, and cease definite crippled rituals they position arsenic offensive. Protesters had nan aforesaid extremity a fewer years agone erstwhile they organized a objection extracurricular Raymond James Stadium successful Tampa, Florida, up of nan commencement of Super Bowl LV.


The Chiefs mislaid that Super Bowl to nan Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"I’ve spent truthful overmuch of my individual clip and money connected this issue. I really hoped that our kids wouldn’t person to woody pinch this," LeValdo said. "But present we spell again."


LeValdo, who is Acoma Pueblo, has been successful nan Kansas City area for much than 2 decades.

Some sports teams person based on their mascots are intended to grant and respect nan tribes.

The protests person led to immoderate change. In November 2021, then-Cleveland Indians shot squad changed its sanction to nan Guardians. The squad besides stopped utilizing its Chief Wahoo mascot.

The 2020 constabulary sidesplitting of George Floyd successful Minneapolis prompted Washington's NFL franchise to driblet "Redskins" from its name. Many Native American groups and others considered nan word a group slur. After a play of simply being referred to arsenic nan Washington Football, successful February 2022 nan squad became the Commanders.

Beginning successful 2020, fans were barred from wearing headdresses aliases look overgarment referencing aliases appropriating Native American civilization successful Arrowhead Stadium, though immoderate still have.

"End Racism" was written successful nan extremity zone. Players put decals connected their helmets pinch akin slogans aliases names of African Americans who were killed by constabulary officers.

"We were like, ‘Wow, you guys put this connected nan helmets and connected nan field, but look astatine your sanction and what you guys are doing,’" LeValdo said.

The Chiefs retired their mascot "Warpaint" successful 2021.

However, nan team’s sanction and arrowhead logo remain, arsenic does nan "tomahawk chop," successful which fans chant and plaything a forearm up and down successful a ritual that is not unsocial to nan Chiefs.

Singer Taylor Swift's relationship pinch Travis Kelce has brought a caller level of attraction to nan Chiefs. In ray of nan heightened attention, LeValdo said her chap activists made a motion for this play reading, "Taylor Swift doesn’t do nan chop. Be for illustration Taylor."

"We were watching. We were looking to spot if she was going to do it. But she ne'er did," LeValdo said.

The Chiefs opportunity nan squad was named aft Kansas City Mayor H. Roe Bartle, who was nicknamed "The Chief" and helped bring nan franchise to nan metropolis successful nan early 1960s.


They besides opportunity they person worked successful caller years to destruct violative imagery.

"We’ve done much complete nan past 7 years, I think, than immoderate different squad to raise consciousness and amended ourselves," squad President Mark Donovan said anterior to Super Bowl LVII in Arizona.

In 2014, nan squad created nan American Indian Community Working Group, which includes a group of Native Americans that serves arsenic advisers to nan team. The representatives person appeared astatine Chiefs location games successful nan years since.

During Chiefs location games, LeValdo and different Indigenous activists guidelines extracurricular Arrowhead pinch signs saying, "Stop nan Chop" and "This Does Not Honor Us."

For LeValdo, nan symptom fueling her activism is rooted successful nan oppression, sidesplitting and displacement of her ancestors and nan lingering effects those injustices person connected her community.

"We weren’t moreover allowed to beryllium Native American. We weren’t allowed to believe our culture. We weren’t allowed to deterioration our clothes," she said. "But it’s OK for Kansas City fans to bang a drum, to deterioration a headdress and past to enactment for illustration they’re honoring us? That doesn’t make sense."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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