US Tribes push back against MLB claims that Native Americans approve of tomahawk chop

04:10  28 october  2021
04:10  28 october  2021 Source:   nbcnews.com

'End of the story': MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred standing down on Atlanta's tomahawk chop, nickname

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A row over whether a ' Tomahawk ' gesture made by fans of a baseball team is offensive has seen supporters hold up signs calling it racist – but the MLB commissioner has described the North American community as "wholly supportive". Houston Astros fans were seen holding up eye-catching cards with slogans including 'the chop is racist' during their 6-2 defeat against the Atlanta Braves in the World Series at the Minute Maid Park, continuing a debate around a gesture that has repeatedly divided onlookers.

“ Native Americans in the Atlanta region approve the tomahawk chop ? Hello—the Whites removed all the Natives from the Atlanta region to Oklahoma on something called the Trail of Tears! Commissioner Rob Manfred says the Native Americans in the Atlanta Braves’ region are essentially OK with the Braves. Even if that were true, does # MLB have an obligation to be respectful to all Native Americans ?

Native American groups pushed back Wednesday against Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred's claim that Indigenous communities support the Atlanta Braves' tomahawk chop.

  Tribes push back against MLB claims that Native Americans approve of tomahawk chop © Provided by NBC News

Manfred told reporters at the World Series on Tuesday that Native Americans near Atlanta don't mind the sight of Braves fans' chanting in a faux battle cry during games at Truist Park in Cobb County, north of Atlanta.

"The Braves have done a phenomenal job with the Native American community," Manfred said on the field at Minute Maid Park in Houston. "The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves' program, including the chop.

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MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said the Native American community in and around Atlanta should have the say on whether the Braves' tomahawk chop gesture is appropriate. The National Council of American Indians has called for the franchise to drop the chop as well as the team nickname. The issues have taken on greater relevance this year as the Cleveland organization changed its longtime nickname from the Indians to the Guardians. Manfred's answer on a possible nickname change for Atlanta was the same as it was for the chop : This is a local issue.

The " Chop " has been criticized by native tribes and a native MLB pitcher as insensitive. “I think it’s a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general,” Helsley said. “Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual. They are a lot more than that. It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing.

"And for me, that's kind of the end of the story," he continued. "In that market, taking into account the Native American community, it works."

But Jason Salsman, a spokesman for Chief David Hill of the Muscogee Nation, said Manfred can't base his opinion on any one stance from a Native community.

"If you just go out and get a group here or there and say you're good, I don't think that's how Indian Country works," Salsman said. "You need to speak to the whole of Indian Country and make sure that you get a grand consensus. I wouldn't say that they have that."

The ancestral homelands of the Muscogee Nation, before its forced relocation to what is now Oklahoma along the deadly Trail of Tears in the 19th century, are in what is now Georgia. The tribe doesn't support the tomahawk chop.

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“The Cherokee Nation is proud of tribal citizen and Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsley,” Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. told the AJC in a written statement , “for speaking out against stereotypes and standing up for the dignity of Native Americans in this country. Hopefully Ryan’s actions will better inform the national (The Braves did in fact play the tomahawk chop music at least three times during the elimination game, and fans were heard on multiple occasions starting their own chop chants.) Like other brands that have seen their acceptability change as times have moved on, the Braves have a

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred defended the team’s use of native imagery, saying that the Braves have “done a great job” working with Native Americans in Georgia. In Atlanta, they’ve done a great job with the Native Americans . The Native American community is the most important group to decide whether it’s appropriate or not.” He added that local Native groups have also approved of the Chop .

"I think for us, with the tomahawk chop, you're not getting anything really authentic," Salsman said. "You're getting something that's more of a caricature."

Manfred said he consulted with local Cherokees. None of the three federally recognized bands of Cherokees is based in Georgia.

The Cherokee Nation and the United Keetowah Band of Cherokee Indians were forcibly removed to Oklahoma, where they remain. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians remains in nearby North Carolina, and Principal Chief Richard Sneed has said for years that the tribe doesn't support the Braves' cheer.

Crystal Echo Hawk, an enrolled member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma who is president of the Indigenous advocacy group IllumiNative, said: "We can't let this just be a local Native issue. The imagery, chant, red face aren't just impacting locally — it's impacting all Natives."

Stephanie Fryberg, a professor of psychology at the University of Michigan and a member of the Tulalip Tribes, said the effect of such mascots and gestures is not always immediately obvious."The Commissioner’s comment focuses solely on peoples’ attitudes, but ignores the fact that there are decades of research that document the psychological harm associated with Native-themed mascots and related gameday behavior," she said in a statement.

Native American group blasts MLB commissioner Rob Manfred over 'tomahawk chop' comments

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Native American groups have protested the practice and called for it to be banned from the moment the team started featuring it. “It’s dehumanizing, derogatory and very unethical,” Aaron Two Elk, a member of the American Indian Movement, said during the Braves’ postseason run in 1991. They rarely stick around in the playoffs long enough for the tomahawk chop to linger and sustain national attention, and the powers that be at MLB have more or less left it alone. Perhaps the league has reasoned that whatever controversy the chop stirs up never persists for long enough or loudly enough

Ryan Helsley, whose mother is Cherokee, said the chop is disrespectful.

The Washington Football Team changed its racist nickname last year, and Cleveland's baseball team has ditched its long-held moniker for a new brand, the Guardian, beginning next year.

Echo Hawk and others have also pointed out that psychological research has shown for years that the use of Native American imagery and mascots in sports has negative consequences for the mental health of both Native and non-Native children.

Trump does 'Tomahawk chop' at World Series game in Atlanta .
Former President Trump was spotted performing the controversial "Tomahawk chop" at Saturday night's World Series game in Atlanta.In videos posted to Twitter, Trump and former first lady Melania Trump are seen carrying out the gesture in an open-air box.The gesture, which has been a tradition at Atlanta Braves games for some time, recently became part of the nationwide conversation regarding racism and professional sports symbols, particularly when the team advanced to the World Series.President Donald Trump does the Tomahawk Chop while at the World Series in Atlanta. pic.twitter.

usr: 7
This is interesting!