Before he died in 1999, a man named Aaron Two Elk led a campaign in Atlanta against the Tomahawk Chop, that sort-of chant that originated with sports fans of Florida State. It came to the Atlanta Braves with Deion Sanders, a Florida State alumn, and became infamous in 1991 when the Braves went to (and very nearly won) the World Series after being the worst team in baseball the year before.
Aaron Two Elk was one of the American Indian Movement who participated in the Wounded Knee 1973 uprising. It is an interesting story if you haven't heard it; many of them were Vietnam veterans who had served their country, but found when they returned to the reservation that they were no longer prepared to endure the corruption and abusive police tactics that were endemic at the time. Here is a photo of Mr. Two Elk during the uprising.
I met him while he was leading his anti-Chop protests. He was a very nice person, and very brave: often he would be out there protesting alone while hundreds of baseball fans poured out abuse on him as they passed his protest. Atlanta was not the safest city in America back then, and the city was caught up in the fever of supporting their team. There was no little danger of becoming the object of more than verbal attentions from a mob doubly drunk on stadium beer and the thrill of victory.
He went out there alone anyway, because he was proud of his heritage. While the "Tomahawk Chop" was not on the same scale as the abuses afflicting the reservations, he objected to it as a way in which the broader American society mocked Native American heritage for its own purposes. Whether you agreed with him or not -- even famously-sensitive Jane Fonda could not see the Chop as anything other than harmless fun -- you had to respect his conviction and his courage.
This is all in the news today because Scott Brown supporters were apparently doing the Tomahawk Chop at an Elizabeth Warren rally.
The Blue Mass Group says that Scott Brown has to explain his supporters' tone.
Yet it occurs to me that this might be one place where even Mr. Two Elk might have thought the "Chop" was appropriate. She and it belong together. They are precisely parallel. If you object to one, you have exactly the same reasons to object to the other.
BMG also cites this video, which they attribute to Republican activists. Maybe instead of dismissing it for that reason, they should have listened to what the people in it have to say.