I AM WRITING IN RESPONSE to “Praise the Chiefs, Pass theTomahawk” (The District Line,1/6).
When I last spoke with you on Dec. 27, 1994, I indicated that I would forward information to you in regard to the cheerleaders and the team. After reading your article, I can see you had already drawn some conclusions about the Washington Chiefs, as one can see from where the article was positioned in your paper: below “True Grits: Wild West Covers Cowpokes, Gunslingers and Indian Chiefs [emphasis added]”. The tactic of juxtapositioning our article under this piece was unwarranted because the two are totally unrelated.
As a part of our official media kit, the Washington Chiefs have a mission statement along with the explanation as to the name and concept of the logo. Did you specifically request this information from anyone you spoke to regarding the Washington Chiefs? I have enclosed said information that has already been issued to the league and what we will disseminate to the media.
Webster’s II New Riverside University Dictionary‘s (1988) definition of the word “chief” is as follows: One of the highest rank or authority: The highest or most important part. To us, the team name “Chiefs” embodies strength, leadership, pride, and responsibility.
The emblem that you described as crossed tomahawks protecting the team’s initials are actually crossed battle-axes. A tomahawk per se is a type of battle ax. The symbolic meaning of the crossed weapons means the initiation or completion of a contest or special event. In many cultures it signifies respect for the opponent. Before widespread use of guns, the battle-ax was a mainstay of weaponry. This was not exclusive to Native Americans. This was used by Nordic cultures, Africans, and other peoples.
The Washington Chiefs and the Washington Redskins are two separate teams in two different leagues, with two separate origins and two separate philosophies with one common denominator, football. Please do not try to compare the two teams by drawing on a name controversy without having all the facts.
Show Troupe Coordinator, Washington Chiefs, Washington, D.C.