OPINION: Tomahawk Chop Should be Chopped out of McIntosh’s Sporting Events

The Braves recently came under fire for using the Tomahawk Chop as a way to have fans show team spirit. The Braves have been using the Tomahawk Chop since 1991 when they adopted the motion from Florida State University. Since then it has been a tradition for the fans to do the motion in order to hype up the crowd and hype up the team.  

The Tomahawk Chop was exposed as being culturally inappropriate by St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Helsey who is a member of the Cherokee Nation. Cultural appropriation is the inappropriate adoption of practices and customs from a culture. Many different cultures take it as a sign of disrespect. During Game 2 of the Braves-Cardinals series at Suntrust Park, he made comments regarding the Tomahawk Chop motion demonstrated at Braves games to the St. Louis Post Dispatch. Helsey described the usage of the Tomahawk chop as “disrespectful” and was disappointed in the Braves for allowing fans to embark on the “misrepresentation of the Cherokee nation”.  

The Braves are being ridiculed because of the Tomahawk chop, but the students of Mcintosh participate in the Tomahawk chop motion at every sporting event. So why is it okay for high school students to participate in cultural appropriation, but a prevalent team like the Braves can’t?

As a student here at McIntosh, I never realized how the Tomahawk chop could be a sign of disrespect towards Native Americans because everyone does it at the football games and I saw it as an innocent motion that boosts the morale of the football players. We don’t understand why this motion is not okay because there is basically no Native American representation at this school. Native American is not even listed as an option for an ethnicity in our student body breakdown. It is understood that our school’s mascot is a chief to represent William McIntosh who our school is named after. However, the Tomahawk chop is something that is a part of the Native American culture and we as students of McIntosh have no right to use the motion.