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Chief Noc-A-Homa

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Title: Chief Noc-A-Homa  
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Subject: Atlanta Braves, History of the Atlanta Braves, Native American mascot controversy, Milwaukee Braves, Stereotypes of groups within the United States
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Chief Noc-A-Homa

Chief Noc-A-Homa's teepee in the 1980s
Chief Noc-A-Homa dancing after a Braves home run

Chief Noc-A-Homa was the original mascot of the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves from the 1950s until 1986. The name was used for the "screaming Indian" sleeve patch worn on Braves jerseys. From at least the early 1960s, while still in Milwaukee County Stadium, until the early 1980s at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, this mascot "lived" in a teepee in an unoccupied section of the bleacher seats.

The name was intended to be a playful variation of "Knock a Homer." The mascot's job was to exit his teepee and perform a dance whenever a Braves player hit a home run.

In the late 1970s, when the previously mediocre Braves became contenders again, a peculiar superstition arose. When football season approached and the portable bleachers needed to be opened up for the Atlanta Falcons, the teepee was typically removed, and at that point, the Braves would typically start to lose. Superstitious fans claimed that disrupting Noc-A-Homa's home was the cause of their downturn, rather than the team just not having enough depth to sustain first place for the season. After this happened several years in a row, though, the story began to gain some currency. The rumor reached its height in 1982, when the Braves were in first place with a seemingly insurmountable lead. Needing additional seating for sellouts, the Braves removed the teepee and sold tickets for the seats normally supporting it. The Braves promptly lost 19 of their next 21 games and fell to second place.[1] When Braves management put the teepee back in place, the Braves went back to first place and ultimately won the Western division that year.

Late in Noc-A-Homa's duration, Hopewell, Virginia native Kimberly Ann Calos was introduced as "Princess Win-A-Lotta"

The Chief and the Princess
conferring before a 1983 game.

The best-known Noc-A-Homa was Levi Walker, Jr., an Ottawa native and an Odawa Indian. In 1986, Walker and the Braves mutually agreed to end their relationship due to disagreements about pay and missed dates.[1] Walker petitioned the club to revive his role during the Braves' 1991 pennant run, but the Braves' management declined. During the late 1970s, the Braves also had a green mascot called Bleacher Creature.

Noc-a-Homa was eventually replaced as the mascot by the characters Homer and Rally. This has not, however, circumvented the introduction of other Native American-inspired traditions for Braves fans, such as the "Tomahawk Chop," adapted with the arrival of Florida State University multi-sport star Deion Sanders from Florida State's popular war chant.

The Simpsons referenced Noc-a-Homa in "I, (Annoyed Grunt)-Bot," when Homer competes as battle robot named "Chief Knock-a Homer."

Atlanta-based band Black Lips wrote a song titled "Noc-A-Homa" for their 2011 album Arabia Mountain. Guitarist Cole Alexander said of the song, ""The guy who acted as the mascot was a real Native American and he used to do prayer dances on the pitcher's mound... He was just a nice guy who rooted for the team."

When it was revealed that Chief Noc-A-Homa would appear on the Braves 2013 batting practice caps, it drew criticism, stating that the logo is offensive against Native Americans.[2][3]

The Chief taking the mound.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Mascot Won't Return".  
  2. ^ "‘Screaming savage’ makes return on Braves’ batting practice caps for 2013".  
  3. ^ "First look: new MLB batting practice caps". ESPN.com. December 27, 2012. Retrieved December 28, 2012. 
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