KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KSNW) – The Kansas City Chiefs will no longer allow fans wearing headdresses or American-Indian-themed face paint into games, among other changes before the upcoming season, according to a statement Thursday.
The Chiefs organization said the policy changes resulted from an ongoing dialogue with local American Indian leaders that the NFL team started in 2014, and recently expanded with a “national organization that works closely on issues affecting American Indian people and tribes.”
The statement says that the headdresses have been discouraged “for several years,” but are now banned from the stadium.
Fans who show up wearing American Indian-themed face paint will have to take it off before entering.
Team officials haven’t banned the “Arrowhead Chop,” in which fans chant while simulating a tomahawk chop with one arm, but say it is under “thorough review.”
This is the complete message from the team:
In 2014, we began a dialogue with a group of local leaders from diverse American Indian backgrounds and experiences. As an organization, our goal was to gain a better understanding of the issues facing American Indian communities in our region and explore opportunities to both raise awareness of American Indian cultures and celebrate the rich traditions of tribes with a historic connection to the Kansas City area.
These meaningful conversations with the American Indian Community Working Group helped us educate ourselves and our fans, and our partnership with these leaders has helped guide our American Indian Heritage Month Games, as well as the ceremonial Blessing of the Drum and the Four Directions of Arrowhead Stadium. Our discussions also led us to discourage fans from wearing ceremonial headdresses and American Indian-themed face paint in our stadium. We are grateful to the members of the working group for their counsel and collaboration, and we look forward to continuing our partnership.
In addition to that ongoing collaboration, we recently expanded our efforts through consultation with a national organization that works closely on issues affecting American Indian people and tribes. Based on those conversations, as well as the work we’ve done alongside the local working group over the past six years, we will be adopting the following measures/policies going forward:
o While we have discouraged fans from wearing headdresses for several years, effective immediately, fans will be prohibited from wearing headdresses into the stadium.
o 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.
o Fans will be asked to remove any American Indian-themed face paint prior to passing security screening outside the stadium.
o We are engaged in a thorough review process of the Arrowhead Chop and plan to have additional discussions in the future.
o 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.
o This includes discussions around how to shift the focus of the drum to something that symbolizes the heartbeat of the stadium.
o 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.
o Finally, we are exploring the creation of a more formalized education program with input from both our local and national partners.
We are grateful for the meaningful conversations we have had with all of these American Indian leaders. It is important that we continue the dialogue on these significant topics, and we look forward to continuing to work together in the future.