COBB COUNTY, Ga. - The Atlanta Braves are hosting a joint event with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians highlighting aspects of indigenous culture at Truist Park.
The reigning World Series champions announced the event called "Cherokee Traditions at Truist Park" is set for Nov. 27, the Saturday following Thanksgiving. Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed will give welcoming remarks.
"We are honored to welcome the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, for the first Cherokee Traditions at Truist Park. This event will serve as another step in our ongoing efforts to educate ourselves and our fans on the culture and traditions of our Native American neighbors," said Atlanta Braves President and CEO Derek Schiller in a statement. "This Native American Heritage Month — and every month — we are thankful to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and our Native American Working Group for their valued partnership and collaboration."
A press release for the event said it will showcase Cherokee customs and traditions, with a dance group, Raven Rock Dancers, Tsalagi Touring Group artisans and living history demonstrators and storytelling. There will also be men's and youth stickball games on the field at Truist Park.
Fans can register to attend the event and the park opens at 11:30 a.m. with programming through 4 p.m.
Prior to the World Series between the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred defended the Tomahawk Chop, which some tribes find offensive.
"The Native American community in that region is wholly supportive of the Braves program, including the chop," Manfred said Tuesday. "For me, that’s kind of the end of the story. In that market, we’re taking into account the Native American community."
Cherokee Traditions is one of a handful of initiatives in which the Atlanta Braves have collaborated with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, based in North Carolina about three hours from Atlanta. The Atlanta Braves released two custom shirts one that features a seven-pointed star, representing the seven clans of the Cherokee, and another with Cherokee Syllabary. In a veteran's day tribute video, the braves honored tribal member Private First-Class Charles George who posthumously received the Medal of Honor.
"I think on a subject like that and when you’re dealing with Indian country you have to look at it as a whole instead of one or two specific places," Jason Salsman, press secretary for the Muscogee Nation, told The Associated Press. "You have to look far and wide and how all Indian nations feel."
Prior to Game 4 of the World Series, the Braves had Sneed announce "Play ball," to the stadium in both English and Cherokee.
"I’m not offended by somebody waving their arm at a sports game," Sneed told the AP on Tuesday. "I’m just not. If somebody is, that’s their prerogative, it’s their right. They can be offended. ... I don’t know very many, maybe one or two, from my tribe who say, ‘Yeah, I don’t like that.’ But at the end of the day, we’ve got bigger issues to deal with."
Cleveland's MLB franchise recently changed its name from the Indians to the Guardians.
Former Braves outfielder and Florida State University athlete Deion Sanders is credited with bringing the chop to Atlanta.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.