McMurry University War Whoop (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 69, No. 5, Ed. 1, Thursday, November 7, 1991 Page: 4 of 8
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McMurry University WAR WHOOP
November 7 1991
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I believe that the toma-
hawk chop employed by fans of the
Atlanta Braves is meant to raise
team spirit provide a common
identity between players fans and
management. Having said that I
must add that although the intent of
this chop has no derogatory or racist
overtones the concern of Native
American (who identify culturally
with the chop) should be given
The genocide of the Native
Americans their internment and
mcirdiscnfranchisrncnt raises cause
for alarm when facets of their heri-
tage is reduced (from their per-
spective of course) to sporting icons.
Thus I reiterate that Ido
not believe the chop is intended to
cheapen or trivialize Native
American culture. However if and
when the people (Native Americans)
from whom this chop is owed voice
concern or complain about insen-
sitivity on the part of the Braves
management players and fans
some degree of sensitivity toler-
ance understanding and sympathy
should be shown towards their
Measures should be taken
to accommodate minority issues in
general and in this specific instance
Native American concerns in par-
ticular (even if such measures in-
clude doing away with socio-cul-turally
offensive actions such as
the chop at the expense of "team
spirit"). The bottom line as I see it
is that the rights of minorities should
be protected and that only when
there is compelling governmental
or state interest may that right be
tampered with. I do not believe the
chop can live up to this test.
Ironically if the Trail of
Tears was in the name of "Manifest
Destiny" likewise has the justifica-
tion for the chop been labeled "team
spirit". Let us not be blinded by
history. This "chop mania" is indeed
nothing more than a high-tech ex-
tension of the Trail of Tears. Terms
such as team spirit for the sake of
sports can not and should not jus-
tify the insult to Native American
culture. This affront to their heri
tage I respectfully submit is ludi-
crous if not indeed preposterous or
I think its great to sec so
many people united by a common
interest. I'm not a Native Ameri-
can so I can't really make a judge-
ment on another people's heritage.
In my own eyes however I don't
feel the chop trivializes their culture.
Mascots arc chosen for a team to
have an identity and focal point
not to demean others. It's sad to sec
so much effort put into this issue
instead of issues like drugs and
AIDS. If the Native Americans can
come together over this issue it
would be amazing what they could
accomplish by fighting alcoholism
poverty etc. within their own
I think the Atlanta Braves
tomahawk chop is a way for the
Brave's fans to show their support
spirit and pride. And personally I
Nad ve American culture in anyway.
However I am not a Native
American Indian and thus I do not
understand what the tomahawk chop
symbolizes in. their culture. So to
be respectful if they want it to be
stopped because they feel it to be
demeaning I would support there
decisions. After all it is their heri-
tage and not mine.
1. It is a good way for the fans
to show support for their team. The
tomahawk chop when executed in
unison serves to boost the efforts of
2. I do not believe it demeans
Native American culture and tradi-
tion. 3. No
No I don't think the mas-
cot is demeaning. I think they're
just having fun. That's just team
What is demeaning is
when Native American heritage it-
self is being exploited. People ex-
ploit the heritage all the time.
Mascots at football games arc one
thing but exploitation of a persons
heredity (by people who don't un-
derstand and arc not a part of that
heredity) is senseless.
The American Indian
heritage is notaboutTipisandbows-n-arrows.
It's not about "Tonto".
The Nadvc American heritage is
about loss. Great loss. I don't
usually tliinkaboutitbutitis pretty
weird sometimes to look across
campus and feel like I'm the only
one here of my kind. (Ironic).
I think the chop used by
the Atlanta Braves is a good gim-
mick to get the fans to the ball park
and thus generate revenue for the
team but I also believe it is a good
way for the fans to show enthusiasm
and get involved thus feeling like
they arc a part of the team and of its
I also believe the chop is
good for baseball because many
people have considered baseball too
boring because there is not enough
action involved and the games are
too long but if die fans have some
way of getting involved maybe the
games will seem more exciting and
not as long thus generating more
interest in the sport.
I don't think the chop
neither trivializes nor demeans In-
dian culture or tradition because
almost everyone realizes it is just
for spirit and fun and not take it as a
put-down to their culture or way of
I think there is a time to
have fun with the chop in sports
games and a time to respect and
admire the Indian way of life in
such instances as their holidays or
when visiting with them.
I think that the tomahawk
chop is done simply outof fun. Not
only does it look "cool" when the
entire stands join in on the chop but
it also pumps up the players and
provides somewhatof a unity within
the Braves fans.
Because America is a land
of many nationalities we should
respect all cultures. I think we arc
doing so by hearing the Native
Americans out and being open to
their views. Although they might
be offended I feel that they too
should realize that the chop is done
only with good intentions; merely
supporting the Braves and its mas-
cot! Brent Osltw
I attended my first
McMurry football game when our
team met Hardin Simmons Uni-
the game I noticed the student body
engaging in a seemingly mindless
and forth; to and fro. Question:
why and what did it mean?
After inquiring I was informed
that Atlanta Braves' fans were us-
ing tins gesture as a means of
"support" during their trek towards
the World Series.
Why? What did it mean?
"Support" and "team spirit" came
the responses again and again.
It wasatthis football game
that I was informed about the
"chop". My initial and lasting
$&& Up;EifeteeIProdf s
impressions arc entangled in a
myriad of issues relating to mean-
ing and significance. I think Uic
Atlanta Brave's tomahawk chop
epitomizes American pop-culture:
thoughtless and void of significant
The "chop" docs trivialize and
thus demeans Native American
culture and tradition. How? By
reducing a wide and diverse spec-
trum of people (S ioux Apache Na-
vajo Arapaho Yokut Modoc Ulc
Blackfoot Cherokee Chbctaws
Chickasaws Scminolcs Creeks) to
a simplistic cultural stereotype. To
categorically assume that this mul-
titude of divergent tribes all utilized
the tomahawk is to ignore cultural
and historical facts. Though there
may have been tribes who did use
the tomahawk to reduce their entire
culture to a sporting image is to
unconscionably exhibit an institu-
tionalized . exploitation of their
This unconscious and de-
American will ensure that the young
and imprcssionablewill weave Uicsc
threads of disinformation and covert
racism into their budding pyschc.
America - truly a melting pot of
cultures (yea right ! I ! )
.& - " in ' A ''
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McMurry University War Whoop (Abilene, Tex.), Vol. 69, No. 5, Ed. 1, Thursday, November 7, 1991, newspaper, November 7, 1991; Abilene, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth104516/m1/4/: accessed November 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting McMurry University Library.