ATLANTA (CBS46) — The Atlanta Braves World Championship win final week introduced many people collectively like by no means earlier than. However with victory comes controversy since some discover the staff’s identify and tomahawk chop offensive.
Nestled within the small village of Indian Springs, an hour south of Atlanta, many natives took half in an annual powwow on a cool November day.
The primary attraction belonged to an Atlanta legend, 79-year-old Levi Walker Jr.; higher generally known as Chief Noc-A-Homa.
“The followers noticed me as a famous person. They noticed me like Batman, they noticed me like Superman,” Walker mentioned.
The Chief received his begin because the Braves mascot in 1969 after he approached the staff wearing his regalia.
“I simply thought in the event that they’re going to have and painting an Indian, they must have an Indian. I’m registered with the Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa,” Walker mentioned.
Earlier than every recreation he would do a dance on the pitcher’s mound after which dash off the sphere to his teepee within the stands entertaining numerous followers of all ages, together with myself. He even witnessed Hank Aaron’s document breaking 715th homerun. It was a 16-year run as mascot which resulted in 1985.
“It began out as $10 a recreation which was not sufficient to help my household, however over time I finally received as much as $60 a recreation,” Walker mentioned.
Now 36-years after leaving the staff, CBS46 caught up with Chief Noc-A-Homa to speak about all issues Braves baseball.
“Lots of followers do the tomahawk to cut which comes from the Seminoles. The mantra from the Seminoles is complimentary in direction of the Braves and the followers have a way of voicing their opinion in direction of the group,” Walker mentioned.
However information headlines paint a really totally different image. The tomahawk chop got here below scrutiny in the course of the Braves World Collection run this yr. The Nationwide Congress of American Indians said they’ve made it clear that native persons are not mascots and that rituals just like the tomahawk chop dehumanize them and haven’t any place in society.
“There are some folks in my tribe that didn’t like the concept of mascots, however the higher proportion 80% of the tribe all the time had respect for the group,” Walker mentioned.
The Cleveland Indians introduced just a few months in the past they are going to change their identify to the Guardians to higher honor natives and foster unity. As for the Atlanta Braves, they mentioned they see no motive to make a change.
“The Braves, sure, I see it honoring. The Cleveland Indians I see it honoring. The Redskins I discover offensive,” Walker mentioned.
Today yow will discover the chief at powwows making arrow heads and tomahawks for his followers. And all these years later, he’s nonetheless beloved by many.
“I’ve been blessed by the followers to be the mascot for the Atlanta Braves,” Walker mentioned.
Chief Noc-A-Homa will make his subsequent public look on April 18 & 19, 2022 on the Vacation Inn in Helen for a United Means golf fundraiser.