Kansas City Chiefs pressured to change name

Sports

(NewsNation) — Native American groups are again asking the Kansas City Chiefs to change their team name because they believe it appropriates their culture.

A group of Native American leaders protested outside Arrowhead Stadium to voice their frustration as the team welcomed the Las Vegas Raiders for “Monday Night Football.”

“Working with the American Indian Community Working Group is one of the most important things we do. We value their continued help as we educate ourselves & our fans while celebrating tribes with historic connections to our region!” the Chiefs tweeted in celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day on Monday morning.

The timing of the protests and continued push for a name change was on purpose, as it came on Indigenous Peoples Day — the alternative to Columbus Day, the celebration of the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas in 1492.

Native American groups have resisted the holiday for years for what they say is a day honoring a man who enabled their colonization and forced assimilation.

According to the Kansas City Indian Center, it’s not just the name that’s offensive to Native Americans; it is the tomahawk chop, the headdresses, the war paint and the banging of drums used by the Chiefs.

The Center is trying to bring to an end what they say is cultural appropriation and stereotyping, even calling fans who engage in practices related to the team “racist.”

Previous conflicts between the Chiefs and tribal leaders on the issue came back in 2021 when the team removed their mascot, a horse named Warpaint, and banned fans from wearing anything that appropriates Native American culture.

They’re not the only ones: In 2020, the Redskins dropped their moniker, changing their name to the Washington Commanders. In 2021, baseball’s Cleveland Indians became the Guardians.

But others have a different view. Missouri Gov. Mike Parsons said it’s an honor when teams use names of native Americans, while some Chiefs fans say it’s sports camaraderie and isn’t intended to offend anyone.

The Chiefs’ acknowledgment earlier on Monday regarding Indigenous Peoples Day said the team plans on honoring Native American Heritage Month when they play the Los Angeles Rams in November.

“Today the Chiefs organization joins people all across the country in recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a chance to honor and celebrate American Indian peoples, histories and cultures,” the statement read. “We continue to have important dialogue with local and national groups to identify ways to educate ourselves and our fans by raising awareness of American Indian communities and their rich traditions. We look forward to celebrating American Indian Heritage Month at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 27, when we take on the Los Angeles Rams.”

As of now, the NFL franchise has made no promises to change the team name, but as of Wednesday morning, the Not in Our Honor coalition — an advocacy group against the use of Native American imagery in sports — announced they’ve collected more than 14,000 signatures in order to get the Chiefs to change their name.

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