GLASGOW Warriors have publicly asked that Exeter Chiefs fans do not wear Native American head-dresses or recite their ‘Tomahawk Chop’ chant during this weekend’s Champions Cup clash at Scotstoun.
Al Kellock – Warriors’ managing director – issued an open letter addressed to his club’s supporters yesterday afternoon, in which he explained that both Exeter Chiefs and tournament organisers EPCR have been informed of the request.
The move comes in response to mounting pressure on Exeter Chiefs to drop its branding, which has been described as “harmful to Native American people through the offensive stereotypes it promotes” by the Chief Executive of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), the largest organisation serving the rights of tribal nations in the United States of America.
In the letter, Kellock explained that the request has been made after extensive consultation with “our supporters, representatives from the Native American community, the competition organisers, and Exeter Chiefs themselves”.
“Today, Glasgow Warriors are asking visiting fans from Exeter Chiefs not to attend the game on Saturday with faux Native American headdresses or chant the ‘Tomahawk Chop’ during the match,” he stated.
“We are making this request out of respect for the Native American community around the world, whose views on the use of their imagery and cultural heritage we support, and the Glasgow Warriors supporters who have called for us to act on this matter.
“Glasgow Warriors is a welcoming club, that celebrates inclusivity and diversity and by making this call for action we want to live up to these values and stand up for the views of our supporters.
“The club has informed Exeter Chiefs and European Professional Club Rugby of our request and has the full support of Scottish Rugby on taking this position.”
Saturday’s match is ‘must-win’ for Warriors after they fought gamely but slipped to a 20-13 loss away to La Rochelle in their opening match of this European campaign on Sunday, and the fact that Danny Wilson’s side have only a six-day turnaround makes the task that little bit harder.
“We will need to deal with that very quickly and accurately,” said Wilson, after Sunday’s match. “We know what we are facing and Exeter were very good against Montpellier on Saturday night [winning 42-6]. But I feel confident about my side and today was a step in the right direction.”