Courtesy Kimball Bighorse
A Giants fan wears a warbonnet backwards as he is confronted by April Negrette about why the bonnet should not be worn on Native American Heritage Night at AT&T Park in San Francisco on June 24, 2014

Scuffle Over Native Warbonnet Leads to Unreasonable Detainment at Giants Game


A Native American Heritage night sponsored by the San Francisco Giants turned ugly last night after an altercation involving a man wearing a war bonnet.

Kimball Bighorse told ICTMN that a fan was wearing a Native warbonnet, which he found offensive and he supported a young woman, April Negrette, who decided to confront the fan. “I was not entirely surprised seeing ignorant people in headdress, but I was surprised they would have the audacity to do it at Native American Heritage Night and that the Giants would allow it,” Negrette told ICTMN.The Giants sponsored Native American Heritage night, a special event at the team’s game against the San Diego Padres. Guests were invited to sit in a “Native American Night” section of the stadium for the game. Bighorse said that he and Negrette confronted the fan respectfully  but things escalated once security guards intervened. He recounted the events on his blog, which you can read here.  

Bighorse said that they were initially hauled away by security, but that San Francisco police officers handcuffed Negrette and began to forcefully escort her out of the ballpark. That’s when Bighorse started to record what was happening on his cellphone. The police then handcuffed and detained him.

ICTMN obtained Bighorse's video:

“We were then ambushed by several police officers, who prevented us from returning to our seats,” Bighorse wrote on his blog. “They claimed that we were trespassing and that we had to leave. I asked for what cause, and they claimed it was because of ‘unruly behavior.’” Bighorse also said he was “violently patted down.”

ICTMN contacted the Giants’ communication office, but our call was not immediately returned.

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Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry (EONM), a group of Native American parents and allies that have actively protested against the Cleveland Indians's Chief Wahoo and the Washington "Redskins" mascots issued a statement:

"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 by non-Natives. 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. Two Native American attendees were physically harmed during this unnecessary and preventable incident. It is our feeling that Native Americans should be able to not only attend sporting events free of harmful cultural misappropriation, but also be able to speak out about the desecration of Native cultures, people, and items. We feel that Mr. Bighorse and Ms. Negrette, were punished for trying to educate about the harms of Native Mascotry. They should not have been asked to leave the game, detained, and forcefully handcuffed by non-discerning security and police that did not care to know nor ask for the full story."

Negrette said she was also surprised that people could be disrespectful, especially during Native American Heritage night.

“As a Native person, I could not break my morals and hand some fake plastic headdress back to some drunk white guy,” Negrette told ICTMN. “I just couldn't do it. Crazyhorse would have rolled over in his grave if I did. That was another level of belittlement. And the police ripped it out of my hands and gave it back to them anyway.”

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builds-the-fire's picture
Submitted by builds-the-fire on
I feel the wearing of the war bonnet by non-Native Americans is an issue that needs to be addressed. I was outraged by how she was treated until I read the last paragraph and then viewed the video. The real story is in the last paragraph. "I could not break my morals and hand some fake plastic headdress back to some drunk white guy,". I'd underline the word "back" here. There's a way to do things, and if she ripped it off his head--no matter how belligerent he may have been--or from his hands, she was the one in the wrong. She could have made her point by asking him where and how he'd earned his feathers, even though they were fake. That would have put him on the spot to admit his ignorance, and given her an opportunity to educate not only this man, but those surrounding him as well, concerning Native American culture.