Warbonnet Controversy Pushes Giants to Revise Policies
An incident during Native American Night at the Giants AT&T Field that resulted in the hours-long detainment of two fans has spurred the team to take a closer look at some of its policies as they relate to Native Americans.
A spokeswoman for the Giants said the team will revise their policies on cultural insensitivity. “We are considering expanding the policy to be more explicit about culturally insensitive signs and articles of clothing,” Staci Slaughter told USA TODAY Sports.
“I don’t want to overstate where we are,” she added. “We haven’t finalized the language. We are still in the process of revising it.”
On June 23, Kimball Bighorse and April Negrette decided to confront a fan wearing a Native warbonnet, telling him that the misappropriation of the headdress and other Native cultural items is wrong. After Kimball and Negrette asked the fan to remove the bonnet, they were asked by the Giants security to hand over their tickets and exit the stadium. The pair was also detained by the San Francisco police.
On July 1, members of Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry (EONM) protested the detainment at AT&T Field demanding that Native culture be respected. “We are surprised that Native American people would be treated this way on ‘Native American Heritage Night’, while trying to confront the very pervasive problem of cultural misappropriation,” Jacqueline Keeler said in an earlier news release. “While we can appreciate that the team held an event to bring Native American peoples and culture to the forefront, and that crowd control is protocol, there is a grave deficit of knowledge about Native cultures and people that became painfully evident at the game.”
Keeler, who is Bighorse’s cousin, has been an outspoken advocate against Native cultural misappropriation. In a press release, Negrette and Bighorse offered these statements:
"I would like the Giants to publicly apologize for allowing this to happen and to provide cultural sensitivity training for any cultural event in the future including rejection for violation. And since there is a dress code I would like offensive things such as this added to the list."
"A great outcome for me would be a public statement from the Giants that wearing offensive Native paraphernalia will be a license revocable/ejectable offense on Native American Heritage Night in the future."
“The Giants are proud of the rich diversity of our fan base who cheer us on at AT&T Park,” Slaughter toldNative Voice. “It is in this spirit that we urge all fans to be mindful and respectful of each other.”
Slaughter also told Native Voices that they would remove from the stadium “any fan wearing culturally insensitive attire, using obscene or abusive language, engaging in antisocial conduct offensive to those around them or displaying any other offensive behavior.”
If fans do witness such behavior in the ballpark, they are told to text the word “Foul” to 69050.
“It is not acceptable for anyone to wear blackface anymore,” Keeler told USA TODAY. “So why is it acceptable for fans to come to stadiums dressed in redface? The clowning of our culture must stop.”
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