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Exeter Chiefs to abandon Native American theme as rebrand honours Celtic tribe

The new identity, including a change to their logo, will take effect from July.

Exeter's current logo at Sandy Park.
Exeter's current logo at Sandy Park.
Image: PA

EXETER ARE TO rebrand themselves in line with the ‘Celtic Iron Age Dumnonii Tribe’ after deciding to abandon the controversial Native American theme that has provoked fierce criticism.

The new identity, including a change to their logo, will take effect from July and while the ‘Chiefs’ nickname is being retained, the club said it will be now be aligned with a “poignant and significant nod to the past”.

The Celtic Iron Age Dumnonii Tribe encompassed an area covering Devon, Cornwall and parts of Somerset for centuries before the Roman occupation from 43AD.

A large section of supporters campaigned for change in the belief that the current imagery disrespects indigenous people in North America, prompting a review process that has now been concluded.

Chiefs fans have repeatedly been asked by opposition clubs not to wear the symbolic headdress to their grounds, while the National Congress of American Indians wrote to chairman Tony Rowe last year to say that the current branding “harms native people through the offensive stereotypes it promotes”.

“We are excited to welcome in the next era of rugby within Exeter. Exeter has and always will be the most important term in our overall identity,” Rowe said.

“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. We are Exeter, we are the Chiefs!”

Exeter Chiefs logo Exeter’s new logo that take effect from July. Source: PA

“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.

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“Our new imagery will bring to life the pride our supporters have to support their club, unifying us all under one brand that underlines all of our core traditions.”

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