Exeter Chiefs to abandon Native American theme in rebrand

A new logo will be introduced in July, but the club will remain known as 'The Chiefs'

Exeter Chiefs are set to drop their controversial Native American theme and rebrand.

The rugby union club has been previously criticised for using the association, which campaigners had argued relied on "dehumanising" stereotypes.

The club said it has been "willing to listen" and is "ready to invoke change".

Exeter Chiefs are now set to rebrand themselves in line with the 'Celtic Iron Age Dumnonii Tribe' which lived in Cornwall, Devon and parts of Somerset before the Roman Occupation in 43AD.

The new logo will be used from July 2022, but the club will continue to be called "The Chiefs".

The new Exeter Chiefs logo is inspired by the Iron Age Dumnonii Tribe Credit: Exeter Chiefs

“We are excited to welcome in the next era of rugby within Exeter,” said Chairman and Chief Executive, Tony Rowe OBE.

“Exeter has and always will be the most important term in our overall identity.

"The term 'Chiefs', however, is equally entrenched in our make-up, going back to over a century ago when teams in this region would regularly call their first teams that of 'the Chiefs'.

“As a rugby club we have been willing to listen, we have consulted far and wide, and now we are ready to invoke change. This is a new direction for our great club, but equally it’s an exciting vision that I’ve no doubt will propel us onwards and upwards over time."

The club said the new logo was the result of a long consultation process, linking historical research with the views of supporters.

This includes the Native American headdresses worn by some fans and Sandy Park's 'Wigwam Bar'.

Earlier this month, the National Congress of American Indians - which is the largest US group representing Native Americans - penned an open letter to the club, urging them to change.

Exeter officially retired their ‘Big Chief’ mascot following a similar review in July 2020, but decided against a full rebrand at the time.

In a statement released after the rebrand was announced, Exeter Chiefs for Change said its faith in the club "has been restored"."We are overwhelmed with excitement at the new identity for the club - one that celebrates Devon’s own rich history and gives us even more reason to be proud of our club and our region," they added.“Exeter Chiefs can now put the controversy behind them as we focus on moving onwards and upwards to the next great era in the club’s history. The club has always been so much more than its branding: there was a long history before the Native branding and there will be a long future after it."