Donald Trump does the « Tomahawk Chop », deemed insulting to Native Americans, during a baseball game

Former U.S. President Donald Trump saluted the Atlanta baseball team on Saturday by performing the « Tomahawk Chop, » a popular gesture among fans of several sports teams in the United States. But the practice is decried by Native Americans who consider it insulting to their culture.

Whistled during a game counting for the World Series two years ago in Washington, Donald Trump joined thousands of fans of the Atlanta Braves team by simulating with his arm the strike of a tomahawk (the ax Native American) at Truist Park in Atlanta, before their game against the Houston Astros in the Major League Baseball (MLB) best-of-seven final. From their dressing room, Melania Trump, his wife, also took up this controversial gesture.

A ritual that « dehumanizes and hurts us »

The former presidential couple was accompanied by former American football star Herschel Walker, vying for the post of senator from Georgia, a candidacy supported by the former American president.

The debate on racism has not spared the sports world in the United States, and MLB in particular. The Cleveland Indians club, for example, decided this year to change its name to rename itself the Guardians, out of respect for Native Americans. The Tomahawk chop, however, remains popular among fans and supported by MLB, with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred saying this week that the practice has the full support of Native Americans in Atlanta. « For me, that’s the end of the story, » he said.

But the president of the National Council of Native Americans, Fawn Sharp, recalled for his part that his institution had repeatedly explained to the Atlanta Braves that « Native Americans are not mascots and that degrading rituals like tomahawk chop, which dehumanize and hurt us, have no place in American society.

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