The Kansas City Chiefs have released a statement reemphasizing their commitment to working with local and national groups in order to, “gain a better understanding of the issues facing American Indian communities.” At the same time, the team also seeks to better celebrate and raise awareness of American Indian cultures in the region.
Team officials have developed a number of new policies and measures related to American Indian symbolism that they announced today. Those changes include the following:
- Fans will be prohibited from wearing headdresses into Arrowhead Stadium. It was previously only discouraged.
- Face paint is allowed but cannot be styled in a way that appropriates American Indian cultures or traditions. Fans will be asked to remove inappropriately styled face paint before entering the stadium.
- The Chiefs are in engaged in a “thorough review” of The Chop and have additional discussions about it planned for the future.
- The team plans to modify the recently built “drum deck.” They seek to maintain the unifying effect that it has between the fans and the players, but also better represent the “spiritual significance” of the drum in American Indian cultures. One idea is to shift from a drum to something that symbolizes, “the heartbeat of the stadium.”
- The Chiefs still plan to continue traditions such as the Blessing of the Four Directions and the Blessing of the Drum, which have occurred at Arrowhead Stadium the past several years. They also plan to continue inviting members of regional tribes to participate in the annual American Indian Heritage Month Game.
- The Chiefs are also working on a “formalized educational program” regarding American Indian culture for fans and community members.
These changes come following the Washington Football Team’s decision to change their team nickname from the previous team name established in 1932, which included a racial slur toward American Indians.
The Chiefs will continue dialogue with local and national American Indian groups and leadership, with the hope of continued counsel and collaboration, so that the team can better represent American Indian cultures.