On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs will play the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl. Chiefs fans will don headdresses and mark themselves with red paint to perform the “tomahawk chop,” a wordless chant complete with a swinging motion of the forearm, caricaturing what they believe is Native American culture.
The 49ers aren’t much better. They are named after the Gold Rushers, who played a major role in forcing out indigenous Californians from their lands in the 19th century…
There is deep reconciliation America has yet to do with indigenous peoples. Our treaty rights are still being violated, most recognizably in failures to fund Indian health care and education, services that were guaranteed in exchange for land that now makes up the United States.
Our land and sacred places are destroyed. Our life expectancy is 5.5 years lower than the total population. An epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women is happening throughout the country.