Close sidebar

Major Native American organisation call on Exeter Chiefs to change their branding

Exeter Chiefs branding

The National Congress of American Indians has called on the Exeter Chiefs to retire all of their Native American themed branding.

Exeter Chiefs have been embroiled in plenty of controversy over their branding in recent times, but after a review last year they decided to keep their Native American-themed branding, although they did retire their mascot, who was called ‘Big Chief’.

That decision has done very little to quieten criticism of the club’s branding, with Wasps recently calling on Premiership Rugby to address the matter of Exeter supporters from wearing faux Native American at matches.

The NCAI, the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organisation in the USA, have now weighed in on the matter, calling on Exeter to change the club’s branding in an open letter.

The NCAI’s open letter to Exeter Chiefs.

“We are writing to inform you that our objections extend to the branding employed by the Exeter ‘Chiefs’, specifically the logo, the venue names (e.g. the ‘Mohawk Bar’), the headdresses, and other uses of Native ‘themed’ collateral,” the letter reads.

“The NCAI requests your support to retire all of the Native ‘themed’ imagery associated with the mascot branding of the Exeter ‘Chiefs’ Rugby Club.

“Ahead of the club member vote later this month, we wish to share with you resources documenting the ways this imagery and branding harms Native people through the offensive stereotypes it promotes, exemplified by Exeter ‘Chiefs’ fans’ misappropriation of culturally sacred headdresses and facepaint, and the degrading ‘tomahawk chop’ rituals they perform during matches.”

The club will hold a vote on their branding later this month.

Exeter Chiefs will hold a members’ vote on changing the club’s branding later this month, although club chairman Tony Rowe has claimed that there is “nothing racist” about the current branding.

While Rowe is not in favour of changing Exeter’s branding, he has said that he will change it if club members are in support of it.

Exeter would not be the first professional sports team to drop their Native American branding, as the Washington Football Team, formerly known as the Washington Redskins, dropped their name and branding after coming under pressure from various groups.

Read More About: