There are going to be a lot of changes coming to Arrowhead Stadium for Kansas City Chiefs fans starting this season.
In the wake of the controversy with the Washington Football Team, the Chiefs have reevaluated their relationship with the Native American community. To that end, the team has decided to implement a litany of policies enforcing respect of Native Americans and their culture.
Effective immediately, the Chiefs are banning fans from wearing headdresses and face paint. The team is “evaluating” its use of the Arrowhead Chop, the Drum Deck and other drum-themed events.
In addition, the Chiefs are working on improving their relationship with local Native American groups. Those discussions have led them to enforce the new policies more rigorously.
Here are the policies, via the Chiefs official website:
- “While we have discouraged fans from wearing headdresses for several years, effective immediately, fans will be prohibited from wearing headdresses into the stadium.
- Face painting is still allowed for all fans, but any face paint that is styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions will be prohibited.
- Fans will be asked to remove any American Indian-themed face paint prior to passing security screening outside the stadium.
- We are engaged in a thorough review process of the Arrowhead Chop and plan to have additional discussions in the future.
- We are exploring all options for a modified engagement moment from the Drum Deck that maintains a unifying effect between our fans and our players but better represents the spiritual significance of the drum in American Indian cultures.
- This includes discussions around how to shift the focus of the drum to something that symbolizes the heartbeat of the stadium.
- As allowed by NFL guidelines and the City of Kansas City Health Department for the coronavirus-impacted 2020 season, we will continue with many of the traditions that we have introduced over the past six years, including the Blessing of the Four Directions, the Blessing of the Drum, as well as inviting members of tribes with a historic connection to our region to participate in our American Indian Heritage Month Game.
- Finally, we are exploring the creation of a more formalized education program with input from both our local and national partners.”
Kansas City’s decision comes on the heels of intense discussions with local groups representing the Native American community. Earlier this offseason, Washington changed its name in response to backlash over the racially-charged name.
Needless to say, the decision has garnered a mixed reaction from Kansas City Chiefs fans.
In the current cultural climate, keeping some of their traditions has become a non-starter. Ultimately, it’s a decision that has been a long time coming