Exeter Chiefs: Premiership club to have further talks over Native American branding

Exeter Chiefs logo
Exeter say they have been known as the ‘Chiefs’ since the early 1900s and have used Native American imagery on their branding since 1999

Exeter Chiefs are to have further talks over the club’s controversial Native American branding.

The branding was discussed at the twice English champions’ annual meeting on Wednesday night, after which the club’s board discussed the matter.

Native American imagery has been used by Exeter since the late 1990s but have faced opposition in recent years.

Earlier this month the National Congress of American Indians urged Exeter to change their branding.

A club statement said: “After consulting and listening in depth to the membership of Exeter Rugby Club at Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting, the Board of Directors will now go away and further consult with its stakeholders, partners and professional advisors to decide what the club will do next in terms of the club’s branding.

“The board will be meeting within the next few weeks to come to a decision.”

‘Dehumanising stereotypes’

Exeter's former mascot 'Big Chief'
Exeter’s mascot ‘Big Chief’ was dropped by the club in July 2020 following objections by supporters

Pressure has mounted on the Chiefs for some time after a called for the club to change their imagery.

In July 2020 the club dropped their mascot ‘Big Chief’ but decided to keep their logo of a Native American while also keeping branding inside the ground such as the ‘Wigwam Bar’.

“Native ‘themed’ mascot imagery and the dehumanising stereotypes it perpetuates must go,” Dante Desiderio, the NCAI’s chief executive, said last month.

Last month Wasps discouraged Exeter fans from wearing Native American-style headdresses to their Premiership game at the Coventry Building Society Arena.

In the United States, Washington’s American football team chose to drop their controversial Redskins name and logo, while Cleveland’s baseball team has changed its name from the Indians to the Guardians.


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