Blackhorse, Native leaders call for Kansas City NFL team name change


Diné activist Amanda Blackhorse wants the Indigenous people to live in a world where there are no stereotypes.

She is widely known for her involvement in a lawsuit to change the name of the Washington NFL team name.

That push to change the name was successfully done, and now she begins another fight with the moniker of the Kansas City NFL team.

Blackhorse, founder of Arizona to Rally Against Native Mascots, says the team name of the AFC champions needs to be retired, during a press conference for the “Not Your Mascot” protest that’s set to take place on Sunday.

“As Indigenous people, all we want is to live and navigate a world where we can enjoy a TV program on Sunday or attend a football game without stereotypes such as fake headdresses, the tomahawk chop, the mockery of our culture and spiritual ways where Kansas City fans hit the big drum,” Blackhorse said.

Kansas City will compete against the Philadelphia Eagles in Glendale, Arizona, in the Super Bowl.

The state is home to 22 federally recognized tribes where many members have disputed the use of stereotypical mascots, language, and actions in the sports field, including Kansas City.

“We don’t want to be cartoons, we don’t want our cultures mimicked, we don’t want these phony Hollywood songs being sung, we don’t want drunken fans acting like they’re ‘Indians’ or whatever they think ‘Indians’ may be,” said James Riding In, a founding member of the American Indian Studies department at Arizona State University. “We’re people who deserve respect.”

At Kansas City football games, fans can be seen wearing headdresses sacred to northern Native communities, doing the “tomahawk chop,” hitting a drum mimicking drum used in powwows, and other mocking actions.

“All we’re asking is for them to change the name and imagery and stop the chop,” said founder of Not In Our Honor Rhonda LeValdo. “It’s not like we’re asking them to practice our religion, learn our language, take away their kids, and make them go to boarding schools because that’s what happened to us – it’s OK for them to play Indian, but we were not allowed to be Indian.”

Across the room, the few guests who sat idly in the back of Cahokia, a social tech and Artspace in downtown Phoenix, nodded their heads in alliance with the speakers and their messages.

Having talked about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s statement condemning racism following the unjust death of George Floyd back in 2020, Blackhorse said Kansas City wears helmets that state “End Racism.”

“Yet the franchise as a whole is an embodiment of racism towards Native American people,” she said. “I’m confident the Kansas City team and the NFL hear Native resistance. After all, groups like Not in Our Honor and the Kansas City Indian Center protest every single home game.”

For Blackhorse and other Native leaders across Indian Country, the fight to remove racist depictions of Natives and culture is not over.

“They know of our existence because they have actively worked to silence us Native people and undermine our movement,” Blackhorse said.

The post Blackhorse, Native leaders call for Kansas City NFL team name change appeared first on Navajo Times.

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