Pressure is mounting for the Super Bowl-bound Kansas City Chiefs to end the popular tradition of fans breaking into a “war chant” while making a chopping hand motion designed to mimic the Native American tomahawk.
A coalition of Native American groups has put up billboards in Kansas City to protest the Tomahawk Chop and Chiefs’ name.
The Kansas City Indian Center shared an image of the billboards on their social media accounts. One reads "change the name and stop the chop," and uses the hashtag "#EndRacism" while specifically calling out the Chiefs team and the National Football League.
Another group, Florida Indigenous Rights and Environmental Equality, is planning a protest outside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the site of Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The chant and arm movement symbolizing brandishing a tomahawk, began at Florida State University in the 1980s, and was later adopted by fans of the Chiefs, and other teams with Native American mascots.
The Chiefs made some changes in the fall, barring headdresses and war paint and making a subtle change to the chop.
“They think that that somehow helps, and they are still playing that ridiculous Hollywood Indian song, which is such a stereotypical Indian song from like old Cowboy movies or something. I don’t know how they feel that that made any difference at all,” Gaylene Crouser, executive director of the Kansas City Indian Center told the Associated Press.
Chiefs president Mark Donovan said barring face paint and headdresses from its stadium was a “big step.”