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Native Americans double down on protests against Kansas City mascot ahead of Super Bowl

A boy runs across a logo for the Kansas City Chiefs NFL football team while attending a display Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023, at Union Station in Kansas City, Mo. The Chiefs are scheduled to play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

A Native American activist group is doubling down on its protests against the Kansas City Chiefs’ controversial mascot as the team heads to the Super Bowl on Sunday.

Not In Our Honor, a Kansas City-based group that advocates against the use of Native American imagery in sports, hosted several events leading up to the Super Bowl in Arizona and plans to protest at the game itself.

Founder Rhonda LeValdo told The Hill that the goal of the efforts is to “make people aware of how this imagery and cultural appropriation works against us and how it affects us as Native people.”

“This is a worldwide event,” LeValdo added. “I don’t want people in different countries thinking this is OK to do to us.”

The ongoing push against the team’s mascot comes as many other U.S. sports teams have moved to ditch offensive references to Native American culture — most notably the rebranded Washington Commanders and Cleveland Guardians.

While the Kansas City team banned fans from wearing headdresses and face paint to games in 2020, it has maintained its mascot and other controversial traditions, including the tomahawk chop.

Also known as the Arrowhead chop, the Kansas City tradition sees fans move their arms in a chopping motion and chant a made-up war song. Not In Our Honor has accused the Kansas City team of “openly mocking Indigenous People and bastardizing our culture with the sickening ‘Arrowhead Chop.’” 

LeValdo said the team’s continued use of the mascot and Arrowhead chop is particularly “tone-deaf” following its racial justice efforts in 2020, which saw players wearing helmet decals with phrases such as “End Racism.”

“You guys can’t end racism when you’re committing racism against Native people,” she added.

The Kansas City Chiefs are set to play the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Tags Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl

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