There has been a bit of a reckoning in the sports world as of late.

The Washington Redskins have changed their name to the Washington Football Team as they examine new name options. The Cleveland Indians will be known as the Cleveland Guardians starting next year. High school teams acro s the country are renaming their athletic programs from other Native American terms as well.

One that has stayed in place has been the Atlanta Braves. Not only the name, but the tradition of the "tomahawk chop." The "chop" has been a part of the Sherrick McManis Jersey team's home games for about three decades, with fans echoing a chant as they rock their arms back and forth in a chopping motion.

As the Braves take center stage in the World Series, the tomahawk chopis facing scrutiny on the national stage. Perception of the chant is divided between those who view it as camaraderie among Bravesfans in the stadium and others who say it is a racist and inaccurate depiction of Native American culture.

With the World Series now in Atlanta, Sporting News is taking a look back at the history of the controversial chant and the efforts that have been made to potentially be rid of it.


How did the tomahawk chop start?

There have been conflicting narratives on when the tomahawk chopbegan in Atlanta. Some say the arrival of former Florida State Seminole Deion Sanders to the Braves spurred it on. Otherssay it had been going on before that.

In truth, it is a bit of both. , organist Carolyn King said David Montgomery Jersey she had been playing the tune that accompanies the chopfor two seasons prior because she felt "it sounded as if it would go with a team called the Braves." She noted that it began to pick up popularity at the end of May 1991 and that it went from only a few people getting into the chop to a large portion of the crowd.

This is where Sanders and Florida State come in. , Miles McRea, then the Braves' director of promotion and entertainment, said the "tomahawk-chop terminology is definitely Braves," but noted the chant itself began at Florida State.

During spring training in 1991, a few Florida State fans began to swing their arms in a chopping motion, . That prompted more fans to pick up on it, and during the seasontoy tomahawks were brought to games.

During the Braves' postseason run that year, the Times reported that foam-rubber tomahawks were made and sold around the area for fans to take and swing inside the stadium.


Controversy and protests

In that October 1991 New York Times article, Bravesdirector of public relations Jim Schultz was quoted as saying that the teamhad received complaints that the tomahawk was "demeaning to Native Americans," but defended it by saying the team viewed it as "a proud expre sion of unification and family."

That was not a viewpoint shared by everyone. When the Braves reached the World Series to face the Twins, Native Americans protested in Minneapolis before the start of Game 1.

, American Indian Movement representatives had hoped to meet with officials with the Braves and MLB to discu s renaming the team and cooling the fans' chant. MLB commi Eddie Goldman Jersey sioner Fay Vincent said it would be "inappropriate to deal with it now."

"I will pay attention to the i sues," Vincent said, . "We will need more education and will discu s it after the World Series."

Protest organizer Clyde Bellecourt, AIM's national director and founder, said that he wanted Braves owner Ted Turner to put a halt to the "ignorant, stupid, racist behavior" and suggested other names for the team would be considered just as abhorrent, .

"I'm sure they wouldn't call the team the Atlanta Bishops and hand out crucifixes to everyone who comes into the stadium. How about the Atlanta Klansmen? They could hand out sheets to everyone who comes in. They would never call the team the Atlanta Negroes," Bellecourt said, according to the Post. "This is the way we feel Eddie Jackson Jersey when we see the chants, the war paint and the tomahawks. They (Braves officials and fans)are totally scholastically retarded about Native American culture. Like everyone else, they have a John Wayne attitude about Indian culture, tradition and history . . . and they're ignorant to the racism that's going on."

The controversy hasn't gone away. It was sparked again most recently in 2019 when the Braves and Cardinals faced off in the NLDS. Cardinals reliever Ryan Helsley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, said he felt the tomahawk chop was "a misrepresentation of the Cherokee people or Native Americans in general," .

"Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who arent intellectual,"Helsley said. "They are a lot more than that. It's not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It's not. It's about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and it devalues us and how we're perceived in that way, or used as mascots. The Redskins and stuff like that."

The Braves i sued a statement in response to Helsley's comments, according to the Post- Leonard Floyd Jersey Dispatch:

"We appreciate and take seriously the concerns of Mr. Helsley and have worked to honor and respect the Native American community through the years. Our organization has sought to embrace all people and highlight the many cultures in Braves Country. We will continue to evaluate how we activate elements of our brand, as well as the in-game experience, and look forward to a continued dialogue with those in the Native American community once the season comes to an end."

The Post-Dispatch reported that fans were encouraged to do the chant ahead of Game 2 and that the foam tomahawks were still out in force. When the series returned to Atlanta for Game 5, however, the tomahawks were removed from the seats, .


The latest on the chop Nick Kwiatkoski Jersey

The Braves did not have to worry as much about the tomahawk chopreturning to Truist Field in 2020 as fans were not allowed in the ballpark during the regular season during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It did return at the start of the 2021 season, however. , the Braves encouraged the chopto return during the season opener. The report stated that the team displayed digital images of the chop and prompted the fans to make the chant during pivotal moments of the game.

The display has continued throughout the postseason, with the gesture drawing attention particularly during Braves games .

Before the start of the World Series, IllumiNative, a Native American-led nonprofit that seeks to provide visibility to native people and challenge narratives around them, said in a statement that the Braves and their fans"continue to use racist imagery, chants and logos that depict Native Americans in a dehumanizing and objectifying manner," .

"For decades, Native communities have urged profe sional sports teams to stop using us as mascots, tostop reducing us to caricatures, and ye