Native Americans Calling on Arizona Cardinals to Make Policy Against Headdresses, Redface

Native Americans Calling on Arizona Cardinals to Make Policy Against Headdresses, Redface
Arizona to Rally Against Native Mascots

As another NFL team with a Native American-inspired mascot came to town last weekend, some Native American groups banded together to protest the Kansas City Chiefs.

Although the groups have gotten a lot of attention for their protests of a certain Washington NFL team's name, they're also protesting what they perceive to be a mockery of Native American culture, like Chiefs fans showing up wearing red face paint or fake headdresses.

"I saw numerous people arriving at the stadium wearing fake headdresses," says Nicholet Deschine, a member of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry. "Arizona is one of three states to have the largest share of American Indian population and it's appalling that this type of insensitive apparel is allowed into Arizona Cardinals games at the University of Phoenix Stadium."

Deschine has actually met with the Cardinals' VP of stadium operations, in hopes of getting a policy implemented to put an end to such things.

That hasn't come about, and Native American groups were at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday to protest.

"I believe that the purpose of the rally was met, which was to increase awareness among sports fans that there are people -- Native Americans and non-Native Americans -- who are against the mockery of Indigenous culture," Deschine says. "Fake headdresses mock the true intent of the warbonnet, which are reserved in my Lakota culture for leaders who have fought for their people."

That's not to say the Chiefs' mascot itself isn't of concern.

Amanda Blackhorse, founder of the group Arizona to Rally Against Native Mascots, has called on the Chiefs to change their name too, calling it exploitative of Native Americans.

"The NFL and other professional sports are the culprits of promoting harmful Native stereotypes through mascots," Blackhorse said in a statement ahead of Sunday's rally. "The institution of Native mascotry is a billion dollar business with which Native people, a disenfranchised group have no ownership. We are not asking for ownership, we are asking to be treated fairly and the NFL can do that by withdrawing from using Native American imagery and names in their marketing."

This isn't the first time these groups have protested at NFL games, and they've sparked similar protests in other parts of the country.

Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.

Follow Valley Fever on Twitter at @ValleyFeverPHX. Follow Matthew Hendley at @MatthewHendley.


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