Atlanta Braves and the Native American Community

Our relationship with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the largest federally recognized tribe in our region, dates back almost two decades and has grown over time. Over the last three years, we have developed a cultural working relationship with them that has resulted in meaningful action.

We also created a formal Native American Working Group with various local and nationwide leaders to partner with and collaborate on matters related to culture, history, education, outreach, and recognition. In addition, we expanded our relationship with the Georgia Council on American Indian Concerns (GCAIC) – an appointed body which handles Native American issues in the state of Georgia.

Cherokee Traditions at Truist Park

On Saturday, November 27, 2021, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and the Atlanta Braves hosted the first-ever "Cherokee Traditions at Truist Park" event. Principal Chief Richard G. Sneed delivered welcome remarks and Cherokee Royalty, including Little Miss, Junior Miss, and Teen Miss Cherokee were in attendance.

Activities included a performance from the Raven Rock Dancers, appearances from the Tsalagi Touring Group artisans and living history demonstrators, as well as storytelling with Kathi Littlejohn.

The highlight of the day was the men’s and youth stickball games played on the Truist Park field for the first time.

EBCI Night at Truist Park

On July 17, 2021, the Atlanta Braves held the inaugural Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) Night at Truist Park, which honored and recognized the impact Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians have had across the Southeast. The night served as an acknowledgement and education to Braves fans on the original home of the Cherokee – Qualla Boundary, which spanned 140,000 square miles covering portions of eight states: Georgia, Alabama, South and North Carolina, Tennessee, West Virginia, Virginia, and Kentucky.

2021 activations included:

  • Pre-game cultural dance performance by the Raven Rock Dancers
  • ‘Visit Cherokee’ booth to provide general information about visits to Cherokee
  • On-field recognition of Tribe Elders and EBCI Pageant Royalty, including Miss Cherokee, Amy West, Teen Miss Cherokee, Haley Smith, Jr., Miss Cherokee, Nevaya Panther, and Little Miss Cherokee, Georjita Girty
  • On-field recognition and First Pitch by Principal Chief of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Richard Sneed
  • Pregame presentation of the ‘We’re Still Here’ video
  • Kick-off of the game with the honorary “Play Ball” in the native Cherokee language by Chairman of the Speakers Council, Roger Smoker
  • In-game highlights of common baseball terms translated into Syllabary
  • The continued partnership between the Atlanta Braves and EBCI to produce a specialty shirt featuring ‘Ballplayer’ in Syllabary to bring awareness to the native language and benefit the Cherokee language school, Kituwah Academy

Ball Player T-shirt

Proceeds benefit the New Kituwah Academy and the Cherokee Speakers Council.

In March 2021, the Atlanta Braves presented the proceeds from the ‘Ball Player’ t-shirts sales to the Cherokee Indians Speakers Council and to the New Kituwah Academy. The Atlanta Braves Foundation matched the donation to help fund a new CALL (Cherokee Adult Language Learners) staff member.

Basket Weave Designs featured on t-shirt

Arrow Point

Arrow Point

Chief's Daughters

Chief's Daughters

Chief's Daughter

Chief's Daughter

Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians

About EBCI

The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians is a sovereign nation remaining on a small portion of their original homeland, centered around Cherokee, NC. Once the largest tribe in the southeast, the Eastern Band is one of three federally recognized Cherokee tribes out of 574 Native American tribes across the nation. The Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians are descendants of the Cherokees who resisted and remained in the Southeast after the Trail of Tears, the forced removal, in 1838.

The Writing System: Syllabary

Syllabary is a writing system invented by Sequoyah. The writing system is called they syllabary because its composed of eighty-five symbols, each one representing a syllable.

Today, the Cherokee Speakers Council are working to revive both the language and the syllabary, and syllabary is being taught at the schools and colleges offer courses in Cherokee.

Education: New Kituwah Academy

Kituwah Academy serves as the cultural and Cherokee language campus for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. The preservation of heritage language and traditions, strengthens the seven distinct Cherokee communities. With a mission is to increase Cherokee language fluency, the Kituwah Academy provides curriculum and instruction to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI) and to regional community partners. The New Kituwah Academy Immersion Program teaches and guides youth to embrace the near extinct Cherokee language and the traditional ways of ancestors. The Kituwah Academy also works to ensure quality early childhood and K-6 Cherokee language curriculum, instruction, and materials are present at the Academy.

To learn more:

Heritage: Cherokee Speakers Council

The Cherokee Speakers Council serves as a cultural advisory committee with a goal of preserving the language, while being the primary representation of the Eastern Band of the Cherokees on all matter regarding language, translations, traditions and culture.


To expand Native American education, the Braves have partnered with Jim Langford, president and founder of the Coosawattee Foundation, for both internal and external educational programs. We have worked to introduce Georgia Native American history curriculum to school systems in the state of Georgia, primarily to 8th graders.

Days of Recognition

Proclamation of Georgia

On Monday, November 30, Governor Brian Kemp proclaimed November 30 as Native American Heritage Day in the State of Georgia. Members of our working group were present at the capitol building.

Native American Working Group

Veterans Day

For Veterans Day 2020, the Braves recognized military veterans through a video tribute. As a part of the recognition, the Braves honored and recognized the impact Native Americans have made to the Armed Forces. For 2020, the Braves recognized Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Principal Chief, Richard Sneed.

For Veterans Day 2021, the Braves recognized Charles George, a proud member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians an Army Private First Class and Medal of Honor recipient who made the ultimate sacrifice for his country in 1952.

Native American Working Group

The Atlanta Braves have created a Native American Working Group for guidance and leadership to help elevate awareness of Native American Culture while building relationships throughout the community.

Principal Chief Richard Sneed visit to Truist Park