October 27, 2021

National Congress Of American Indians Responds to Manfred's Lies: Atlanta's Fan Rituals Are Offensive, Degrading, And Dehumanizing, And Have No Place In American Society

Fawn Sharp, President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), responded on Wednesday to Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred's lies and distortions concerning the Atlanta team's racist nickname and fan rituals.

Yesterday, Commissioner Manfred stated that the question of whether the "Braves" mascot and "tomahawk chop" fan ritual are offensive to Native people is only a local issue. He similarly asserted the league does "not market our game on a nationwide basis." Nothing could be further from the truth.

Major League Baseball is a global brand, it markets its World Series nationally and internationally, and the games played in Atlanta this weekend will be viewed by tens of millions of fans across the country and around the world. Meanwhile, the name "Braves," the tomahawk adorning the team's uniform, and the "tomahawk chop" that the team exhorts its fans to perform at home games are meant to depict and caricature not just one tribal community but all Native people, and that is certainly how baseball fans and Native people everywhere interpret them. 

Consequently, the league and team have an obligation to genuinely listen to Tribal Nations and leaders across the United States about how the team's mascot impacts them. NCAI, a consensus-based congress composed of hundreds of Tribal Nations from every region of this country, has made its categorical opposition to Native "themed" mascots abundantly clear to sports teams, schools, and the general public for more than five decades. In our discussions with the Atlanta Braves, we have repeatedly and unequivocally made our position clear – Native people are not mascots, and degrading rituals like the "tomahawk chop" that dehumanize and harm us have no place in American society. NCAI calls on the team to follow the example set by the Cleveland Guardians, and we call on Major League Baseball and the FOX Broadcasting Company to refrain from showing the "tomahawk chop" when it is performed during the nationally televised World Series games in Atlanta.

The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) is the oldest, largest, and most representative national organization serving Tribal Nations and their citizens. One NCAI resolution states:

The use of "Native American" sports mascots, logos, or symbols perpetuates stereotypes of American Indians that are very harmful. The "warrior savage" myth . . . reinforces the racist view that Indians are uncivilized and uneducated and it has been used to justify policies of forced assimilation and destruction of Indian culture.

1 comment:

allan said...

Blown calls by umpires have favoured Atlanta in seven consecutive postseason games (all six NLCS games and one WS game) to the tune of a combined 4.34 runs.