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“Tomahawk Chop” Makes Braves Victory a Bit Awkward

“Tomahawk Chop” Makes Braves Victory a Bit Awkward

Credit: Unsplash

The antiquated call cast a pall over their World Series victory.

Earlier this week, the Atlanta Braves took on the Houston Astros on the Astros’ home turf at Truist Park. It was Game 6 of the World Series, with the Braves up by one victory and the Astros in the danger zone. Ultimately, despite delaying matters with their Game 5 win, the Astros couldn’t bring home the bacon, leaving the Braves to claim their first World Series championship since 1995. The Braves’ fans were out in force for the victory, both in the stadium and in the streets back home, though in the process, they reminded everyone of some rather antiquated practices.

Fans of the Braves engaged in their longtime callout, the “tomahawk chop,” a chopping motion made with either one’s hand or an accessory like a light stick. The cheer has been a regular sticking point for the National Congress of American Indians, who consider it to be a racist reference to native Americans.

“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,” the NCAI President, Fawn Sharp, told ABC News.

The Braves are one of multiple teams across multiple western organized sports that have made regular use of native American imagery, and who have consequently fallen under much greater scrutiny for doing so, not unlike the former Washington Redskins football team.

“I think the team needs to condemn that behavior,” Heather Whiteman Runs Him, a law professor and director of the Tribal Justice Clinic at the University of Arizona in Tucson, told Good Morning America, “and to begin the process of educating and taking a lead in raising awareness about our actual identities, the actual complexities of our cultures, our present-day reality, as well as the many problems in our mutual history.”

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