Natives have been so cancelled out of the American conversation that people don’t even know where to begin to include us. “What do we call you? … American Indian? Native American? Do you guys still live in tipis?” These questions are still asked today—and they will continue to be asked unless we put together some kind of list, a collection of do’s and don’ts, and share it widely… Wait. Hang on a tick. What do we have here?
The issue isn’t that “Chiefs” — unlike the recently removed longtime moniker of the Washington, D.C., NFL team — is a racial slur. Rather, the issue at hand, which has been the issue at hand for decades, is that appropriating a revered title that can only be earned by a small number of individuals in Native communities and applying it to a sports term to denote a kind of physical aggression is part and parcel of the dehumanization and commodification of an entire race of people.
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