Not In Our Honor 2021 Continuing to Protest the KC football Name

September 10, 2021

Statement to Kansas City Football Team from Not In Our Honor 2021

Not in Our Honor is a coalition of local Native American leaders and American Indian organizations in the Kansas City metropolitan area who have been speaking out against the use of Native American stereotypes and misappropriation of Native American culture. Additionally, Not In Our Honor sponsored a resolution adopted by the National Congress of American Indians’ (NCAI) in 2020 to include in NCAI’s decades-long campaign for the Elimination of Race-Based Native Logos, Mascots, Names, Behaviors and Practices. https://notinourhonor.files.wordpress.com/2020/12/pdx-20-042-signed.pdf

The decision of the Kansas City football team to remove the horse “War Paint” from the games in addition to last year  prohibiting fans from wearing “headdresses and face paint styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions,” is another step in the right direction.  While it may address the more blatant racist behaviors in the stadium, it does not address the overall racism and appropriation of Native culture inherent with utilizing a race of People as a mascot.  It is also a disservice to the fans.   While misguided at best, the fans are trying to support their team.  By identifying some behaviors as too “offensive” while reserving some behaviors (tomahawk chop) for review, the team not only robs fans of the full fan experience, they have made the determination that some racism is okay, but blatant racism is not.  This is directly in opposition to the recent statements made by the NFL, team owners, management, and players about social justice.  

Banning these behaviors is unlikely to stop devout fans from continuing to don headdresses and face paint in the parking lot, nor will it prevent the opposing team from racist behavior.   The opposing team will still use the same offensive signs and verbiage they have used for many years, such as, “send them back to the reservation,” “scalp them,” and “Trail of Tears.”    

Kansas City’s team name was chosen in 1963 to honor a mayor nicknamed “The Chief” due to his founding of an imaginary Boy Scout Indian tribe.  This occurred before the Civil Rights movement and before the American Indian Civil Rights movement in the 1970s.   For decades, hundreds of tribes, national Indian organizations, and professional organizations have spoken out on this matter.  In 2005, the APA called for the immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, symbols, images and personalities by schools, colleges, universities, athletic teams and organizations, stating “Research has shown that the continued use of American Indian mascots, symbols, images and personalities has a negative effect on not only American Indian students but all students…”  https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/indian-mascots https://www.apa.org/pi/oema/resources/policy/mascots-justif.pdf      

The attempt to justify the maintenance of racist mascots because a very small number of Native Americans accept it, when a majority of us vehemently oppose them is shocking.  A recent study found the more connected the individual Native is with their culture (language, traditions, ceremonies), the stronger their opposition. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/1948550619898556?journalCode=sppa

With the KC “Inspire Change” and “Kingdom United” program to teach students to learn about “race and inclusion” why not take a step and inspire a whole race of Native Americans and Change the Name! Be on the side of racial justice, don’t just talk about it.  Currently our petition asking KC to change the name is over 11,000 signatures. https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/change-the-name-and-imagery-of-the-kansas-city-chiefs-football-team?source=direct_link&referrer=group-not-in-our-honor

Not in Our Honor will continue our protest outside the stadium in addition to other signage around the city, we ask:

  1. Cease the use of racialized Native American branding by eliminating any and all imagery of or evocative of Native American culture, traditions, and spirituality from their team franchise including the logo. This includes the use of Native terms, drum,  arrows, or monikers that assume the presence of Native American culture.
  2. Apply the NFL’s “zero tolerance” for on-field use of racial and homophobic slurs to all races and ethnic groups, especially Native Peoples.

Not In Our Honor Coalition www.NotInOurHonor.com

Rhonda LeValdo, Amanda Blackhorse, Ed Thomas Smith, Jimmy Beason, Shereena Becenti, Carole Cadue-Blackwood, Gaylene Crouser, Kansas City Indian Center, American Indian Council-Region VII

Billboard and Flyover Statement

Not In Our Honor, a coalition of Native Americans against the use of the Native Mascots, Names and Imagery, is holding its silent protest against the KC football team on February 7th to raise awareness of the continued serious psychological, social and cultural consequences of race based mascots, logos, symbols and stereotypes for Native Americans, especially the Native youth we serve in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Our online petition at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/change-the-name-and-imagery-of-the-kansas-city-chiefs-football-team?source=direct_link& calls on the Kansas City Chiefs to cease their use of racialized Native American branding by eliminating all imagery of or evocative of Native American culture, traditions, and spirituality from their team franchise by changing their name including the logo. This includes the use of Native terms, drum, arrows, or monikers that assume the presence of Native American culture and apply the NFL’s “zero tolerance” for on-field use of racial and homophobic slurs to all races and ethnic groups, especially Native Peoples!

We are amplifying our message by renting two digital billboards (I-435 near 103rd St exit and I-70 near Benton).  We are also responsible for the airplane flying near Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, with a banner reading “Change Your Name and Stop the Chop! EndRacismKC.com” on Superbowl weekend, February 5,6, and 7.   

Signed: Not In Our Honor, Kansas City Indian Center, The Region VII American Indian Council, The National Center for Indigenous American Cultures (Thidaware), National Congress of American Indians, and Native Artists Coalition to End “Native” Mascots

Contact: Rhondalevaldo@gmail.com

Billboard Statement

Not In Our Honor, a coalition of Native Americans against the use of the Native Mascots, Names and Imagery, is holding its silent protest against the KC football team on February 7th to raise awareness of the continued serious psychological, social and cultural consequences of race based mascots, logos, symbols and stereotypes for Native Americans, especially the Native youth we serve in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Our online petition at https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/change-the-name-and-imagery-of-the-kansas-city-chiefs-football-team?source=direct_link& calls on the Kansas City Chiefs to cease their use of racialized Native American branding by eliminating all imagery of or evocative of Native American culture, traditions, and spirituality from their team franchise by changing their name including the logo. This includes the use of Native terms, drum, arrows, or monikers that assume the presence of Native American culture and apply the NFL’s “zero tolerance” for on-field use of racial and homophobic slurs to all races and ethnic groups, especially Native Peoples!

We are amplifying our message by renting two digital billboards (I-435 near 103rd St exit and I-70 near Benton).  reading “Change Your Name and Stop the Chop! #EndRacismKC along with our website address NotInOurHonor.com.”  A link to our petition is available on our website.   

Signed: Not In Our Honor, Kansas City Indian Center, The Region VII American Indian Council, The National Center for Indigenous American Cultures (Thidaware), National Congress of American Indians, and Native Artists Coalition to End “Native” Mascots

Contact: Rhondalevaldo@gmail.com

NCAI Resolution mentions work of Not In Our Honor and Condemns Kansas City’s Football Franchise.

The National Congress of American Indians passed resolution PDX-20-042 “Support for the Elimination of Race-Based Native Logos, Mascots, Names, Behaviors and Practices”, a resolution sponsored by Not In Our Honor coalition member Rhonda LeValdo. Click here to read the full resolution which condemns Kansas City’s football franchise.

Not In Our Honor Statement Regarding Kansas City NFL franchise recognition on November 1, 2020

November is Native American Heritage Month, a time to celebrate and learn about and from American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian Peoples. Our Native organizations and families in Greater Kansas City look forward to working with schools, teachers, students, parents and civil and religious groups to dispel the many myths about us and to replace stereotypes and falsehoods with accurate images, art, music, stories and truth.  

With so many possibilities for increasing knowledge and building good relationships, it is disappointing that the Kansas City NFL franchise has hijacked our Heritage Month to promote its gross distortions of our symbols, names and behaviors.  Its recognition of Native Heritage Month during the Nov. 1 home game is a hollow tribute, so long as the sports conglomerate persists in its assaults on the sensibilities of our children and young people. 

Stealing our feathers, drums and other symbols and turning them into gigantic grotesqueries follows the time dishonored tradition of killing the Indians and taking the “trophies” — scalps, heads, body parts, moccasins, arrows. This is the literal dehumanization and objectification of the people, the erasure of Native Peoples.  

Add to it the double whammy of the “Arrowhead Chop.” It calls up “Indian savages” at the same time it threatens real savagery against Native People — harkening back to a time of physical mutilation that is in our ancestors’ histories and our children’s nightmares.      

Take a moment to consider the situation of Native Peoples in the United States. Despite the vast improvements in our lives and our many achievements and accomplishments in the modern time, we remain at the undesirable ends of every socio-economic demographic marker.  

Most of the problems Native Americans face today can be traced directly to failed policies of the distant and recent past. Today’s health conditions trace directly to deliberate extermination of the buffalo, salmon and Native-cultivated foods and medicines that kept the people in good health. Disrespect and objectification of Native people in the past continue in a straight line to the myriad social ills and the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Disregard for our ancient wisdom and practices of living with the natural world led to today’s environmental emergencies and climate-change disasters.       

Native Peoples have policy issues we know how to resolve, but more often than not, we are not listened to or cannot be heard above the din of racism. Policymakers get the same impression of us as the rest of general society, from inaccurate educational materials and the images and names from the sports and advertising worlds that eliminate evidence of our humanity. Policymakers don’t make good public policy for mascots, cartoons, relics of the past or beings that are not quite human. 

Our voices are drowned out by the sound of the ginormous drum and arrowhead chop. We aren’t seen for all the fake feathers on all the fake chiefs.  

Here’s where you come in. Help us by calling on the Kansas City NFL franchise to stop stealing our cultural icons and to cease their stereotyping. It’s a sport, but it’s not good clean fun for anyone, especially for our children.  We are not throwing shade on the KC team or individual players. They’re our hometown team, too, only we and our children cannot go in any part of the metropolitan area without being confronted by images and behaviors that suggest we are inhuman, less than others or deserving of bigotry, mockery and stereotyping. We can like the team and dislike what they are doing. It’s not hard to do both those things at the same time. It may not feel bad to you, but you are not the target. We are. 

We are the organizations of Native people who bear the brunt of the bigoted attacks. Our children suffer from the emotional violence inflicted by these weapons of racism. You may see or hear an actual Native person say s/he doesn’t mind the team’s name, symbols or behaviors. All that shows is that we are not a monolith. And, you should know, that the NFL franchise pays some of its fans and has “Indian spokesmen fans” on the payroll, too. 

We and our families are not for sale, lease or rent. We are speaking for our extended families and our longtime communities in Greater Kansas City when we say Change the Name and all the Symbols of Anti-Native Bigotry. Stop the Arrowhead Chop. 

We are pleased to announce the support of the Native Artists Coalition to End “Native” Mascots. The Coalition is comprised of outstanding Native Artists of national and international renown. Some are from the KC area or have lived here as students and have firsthand knowledge of what we are up against. They deal with issues of authenticity, representation, name-calling and stereotype-busting in their work and lives. These Native Artists stand in solidarity with the Not In Our Honor coalition.

Please end this racism, honor people of color without racist stereotypes! 

Not In Our Honor Coalition-Rhonda LeValdo, Amanda Blackhorse, Jimmy Beason, Carole Cadue-Blackwood, Shereena Becenti, Ed Thomas Smith, Gaylene Crouser

Kansas City  Indian Center

Region VII American Indian Council

National Center for Indigenous American Cultures (Thidaware)

Native Artists Coalition to End Native Mascots

Represented for this statement by:

Tony Abeyta (Navajo), Multimedia Painter, Jewelry Designer

Marcus J. Amerman (Choctaw), Bead/Glass Artist, Painter, Performing Artist

Keri Ataumbi (Kiowa), Artist, Jeweler

Shonto Begay (Dineh’), Artist @ Foot of Sacred Mountain Studio 

David Bradley (White Earth Ojibwe), Painter, Sculptor 

Casey Camp-Horinek (Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma), Elder & Hereditary Drumkeeper, 

Environmental Ambassador, Actor, Designer

Ricardo Cate (Kewa), Artist

Kelly Church (Ojibwe), Black Ash Basket Maker, Artist 

Benito Concha, (Taos Pueblo), Native American Drummer, Artist

Carolyn Dunn (Muscogee Creek, Seminole, Cherokee), Poet, Playwright, Musician

Bunky Echo-Hawk (Pawnee/Yakama), Artist, Designer, Muralist

Gary Farmer (Cayuga Nation, Wolf Clan), Actor and Musician

Anita Fields (Osage Nation), Sculptor

Yatika Starr Fields (Osage, Cherokee, Muscogee Creek), Artist

Jennifer Elise Foerster (Muscogee (Creek) Nation), Poet, Writer, Educator

Teri Greeves (Kiowa), Beadworker, Artist, Curator

Suzan Shown Harjo (Cheyenne & Hodulgee Muscogee), Curator, Poet, Playwright

Hock E Aye Vi Edgar Heap of Birds (Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes), Artist, Educator

Lance Henson (Cheyenne),  Cheyenne Dog Soldier, Poet and Playwright

Richard W. Hill,  Sr. (Tuscarora), Artist, Educator and Museum Curato

April Holder (Sac & Fox), Mixed media installation Artist, Community Advisory Board 

Member for The PTM Foundation

Kenneth Johnson (Muscogee-Seminole), Designer, Metalsmith

Randy Kemp (Choctaw, Mvskoke-Creek, Euchee) Artist, Spoken Word, Storyteller, Flutist, 

Painter, Performance Artist

Jean LaMarr (Northern Paiute and Achomawi), Painter, Mixed-Media Artist, Printmaker, 

Muralist, Arts Educator

Oren Lyons (Onondaga Council of Chiefs, Faithkeeper, Haudenosaunee), Artist, Writer

Dallin Maybee (Northern Arapaho and Seneca), Artist, Attorney

America Meredith (Cherokee Nation), Artist, Curator, Publishing Editor of First American Art

Magazine

Tiffany Midge (Standing Rock Sioux), Poet, Essayist, Editor

Muriel Miguel (Kuna & Rappahannock), Director, Actor, Choreographer, Educator, Play 

Writer, Spiderwoman Theater Artistic Director/Founder, 2018 Doris Duke Artist

Mary Kathryn Nagle, Esq. (Cherokee Nation), Playwright,  Manahattaa, Sliver of the Moon, 

Sovereignty

Tammy Rahr (Cayuga Nation), Artist, Educator

Kenny Ramos (Barona Band of Mission Indians, Kumeyaay Nation), Theater Artist, Educator

Renée Roman Nose, MAIS (Cheyenne & Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma), Activist, Artist, Poet, 

Author of Sweet Grass Talking

Mateo Romero (Cochiti Pueblo), Artist, Muralist, 2019 Native Treasures Living Treasures 

Awardee 

Buffy Sainte-Marie (Cree), Singer-Songwriter, Digital Artist, Canadian Songwriters Hall of 

Fame, Recipient of Academy Award Oscar, BAFTA, Golden Globe, JUNO, SAG, Other Honors 

Madeline Sayet (Mohegan), Executive Director, Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program 

Joanne Shenandoah (Oneida Iroquois), Singer-Songwriter, Grammy Award Winner, Peace 

Ambassador, Human and Earth Rights Activist

Hoka Skenandore (Oneida, Oglala Lakota & La Jolla Band of Luiseno), Artist

Arigon Starr (Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma), Artist, Writer, Musician

DeLanna Studi (Cherokee Nation), Actor, Director, Artistic Director, Native Voices at the 

Autry

Wes Studi (Cherokee Nation), Actor, Academy Award Recipient

Murielle Borst Tarrant (Kuna/Rappahannock), Actor, Director, Dramaturg, Director of Safe 

Harbors Indigenous Collective at LaMama

Gabrielle Tayac, Ph.D. (Piscataway), Writer, Educator

Marty Two Bulls, Jr. (Oglala Lakota), Artist

Mitch Walking Elk (Cheyenne/Arapaho/Hopi), Musician/Singer-Songwriter/Recording Artist

Richard Ray Whitman (Yuchi-Muscogee Creek Nation), Multidisciplinary Visual Artist, Poet,

Actor

Elizabeth Woody (Navajo, Warm Springs, Yakama Nation), Multimedia Artist and Author

Celeste Worl (Tlingit Tribe in Alaska), Artist, DJ, Worl Studio

Designated Honoree Declines Invitation to Hit Stadium Drum

October 11, 2020

Kansas City, MO-

In standing with solidarity with Not In Our Honor, the drum honoree/ Spirit Leader Edgar Palacios decided to not hit the drum and continue stereotypes perpetuated by this action.

Palacios was picked for his contributions to the Hispanic/Latinx communities for Hispanic Heritage Month. He found the Latinx Education Collaborative to increase the representation of Latinx education professionals in K-12.

Mr. Palacios felt by supporting Native Americans, he can help the message get to the KC football team that it does “take all of us” to “End Racism”.  Palacios stated,

“While humbled to be recognized by our local football team to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, I did not feel comfortable banging the drum. As Cesar Chavez once said, “Preservation of one’s own culture does not require contempt or disrespect for other cultures.”

Not In Our Honor and the Kansas City Indian Center greatly appreciate Mr. Palacios contributions to our cause.

Rhonda LeValdo, Acoma Pueblo; Amanda Blackhorse, Navajo Nation; Jimmy Beason, Osage Nation; Carole Cadue-Blackwood, Kickapoo Nation; Shereena Becenti, Navajo Nation; Ed Thomas Smith, Osage Nation; Gaylene Crouser, Kansas City Indian Center Executive Director