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Indian Chief Faults Braves’ Chant

October 28, 1999

MONROE, Conn. (AP) _ The chief of the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation believes the Atlanta Braves are cursed.

But Richard Velky said it is by more than a lack of hitting. He said they are cursed by the ``war chant″ practiced by their fans.

``There are some who believe this sham of a chant has created such anger among the spirits of the land that you have produced a self-inflicted curse upon the Braves,″ Velky said after the team lost its fourth World Series this decade.

Velky said the Braves’ loss in a four-game sweep by the New York Yankees ``is a dramatic reminder that your war chant is more of a lament than a victory cry.″

The chief, who heads a tribe of 300 with a reservation in northwestern Connecticut, urged retirement of the war chant, which is usually accompanied by fans waving foam tomahawks in unison.

Velky called it obnoxious to American Indians, and compared it with having fans of the New Orleans Saints doing Latin prayers whenever there’s a first down.

``Its mechanical recitation and dysfunctional cadence that has no connection whatsoever to any Native American heritage I know,″ Velky said.

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