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How did the Kansas City Chiefs get their name? Origin and meaning

The Chiefs’ legacy is one of respect and heritage that tries not to appropriate any culture. We take a deeper look.

The Chiefs’ legacy is one of respect and heritage that tries not to appropriate any culture. We take a deeper look.

Contrary to popular belief, the Kansas City Chiefs did not get their name because of any affiliation or tied to any Native American Indian heritage. The Chiefs are again one of the fancied teams to reach the Super Bowl, so as the season begins, we decided to remind people of the story behind the name of the current champions.

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So, as we’ve said, the Native American connection that the Average Joe may assume is the origin for the Kansas team’s name is not correct. Heritage appropriation is a big no-no for teams nowadays. Just look at the last team to be condemned about it, the Washington Commanders, who, before their name change, were named the Washington Redskins. NFL teams must be cautious not to offend an ethnicity or people when naming themselves.

The story behind the Kansas City Chiefs’ name?

H. Roe Bartle, the mayor of Kansas City in the early 1960s, inspired the naming of the Kansas City Chiefs. In 1963, Mayor Bartle, often known as “Chief,” was key in luring Lamar Hunt’s American Football League team, the Dallas Texans, to Kansas City. Longtime Chiefs executive Jack Steadman suggested the moniker “Chiefs” as a tribute to Bartle’s work.

From the Chiefs’ website, the organization claims to be very careful with respect to the heritage of Native Americans.

“While the origin of the team’s name has no affiliation with American Indian culture, much of the club’s early promotional activities relied heavily on imagery and messaging depicting American Indians in a racially insensitive fashion. Over the course of the club’s 60-plus-year history, the Chiefs organization has worked to eliminate this offensive imagery and other forms of cultural appropriation in their promotional materials and game-day presentation.

Want to know more? Check out the organization’s website for further history and insight.

Thursday Night Football: Lions vs Chiefs

The opening game of the 2023 NFL season sees the Chiefs go up against the Detroit Lions. Find out how to follow the action, including our own inimitable coverage.


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