BOONE, NC ~ This past week years of Native American persecution came to a screeching halt in Cobb Country Georgia. The Atlanta Braves announced, two hours before Game 5 of the NLDS, that they weren’t going to give Braves fans foam tomahawks (which they typically do in a playoff event). It was a genius move by the team. Instead of announcing such a thing in the off-season, or even in June, announcing it moments prior to the biggest game of the season (after an opposing pitcher’s grandmother was offended by the chop) got Atlanta Braves fans even more excited about the decisive game.
For years, Native Americans have been persecuted at the hands of bigoted Atlanta Braves fans. Here’s a quick history. The “tomahawk chop” and “war chant” actually derived from the Florida State Seminoles (Indian tribe in FL) team and when the Atlanta Braves got Deion Sanders back in the early 90’s (who played at FSU), according to folklore, one night a racist white man at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, reportedly from Mableton, began doing the chop and chant to honor Deion Sanders, a black man.
This mockery continued in Atlanta all the way thru last Monday. Atlanta sports fans have learned the heard way. They’ve learned that when Pirates fans root for the Pirates, it is not mockery. They’ve also learned that when Minnesota Vikings fans root for the Vikings and do the “Skol” chant, it is also not mockery. But, rooting for the Atlanta Braves and doing “the chop” is mockery.
Merriam-Webster defines “mockery” as teasing and contemptuous language or behavior directed at a particular person or thing. So, as we’ve seen in Atlanta for years now, it’s been rather disappointing to watch 12-year-olds from suburban Atlanta direct such an offensive gesture towards the Cherokee Nation. To think that these youngsters were merely cheering for the sports team on the field and not mocking people of Native American ancestry is ignorant according to many experts on Twitter.
But this is only the beginning. Atlanta sports fans will continue to learn from St. Louis Cardinals fans, home of the Gateway Arch which is the symbol of westward expansion and Manifest Destiny, reminding Americans that the land west of the Mississippi (formerly inhabited by Native Americans) has actually belonged to us since the beginning of time.