Levi Walker Obituary: Remembering Chief NAH “Levi Walker”

The Atlanta Braves and the larger baseball community mourn the loss of Levi Walker Jr., also known as Chief Noc-A-Homa, who passed away at 80. Walker’s portrayal of the Braves’ mascot from 1966 to 1985 was not just a role but a symbol of cultural representation and pride for the Native American community. This article pays homage to his life and legacy.

Summary Table

AttributeDetails
Full NameLevi Walker Jr.
AliasChief Noc-A-Homa
Date of PassingNovember 25, 2023
Age at Passing80 years
Tenure as Mascot1966 – 1985
Tribe AffiliationOdawa Tribe
Notable ContributionsCultural representation in sports, Activism

Life and Career of Levi Walker Jr.

Levi Walker Jr., hailing from Michigan and a member of the Odawa Tribe, left an indelible mark on the world of baseball and beyond. His portrayal of Chief Noc-A-Homa, the Atlanta Braves’ mascot, was not just a job but a representation of Native American heritage in a major sports league. Walker’s tenure as the mascot spanned nearly two decades, from 1966 until 1985.

Chief Noc-A-Homa: More Than a Mascot

As Chief Noc-A-Homa, Walker resided in a tipi beyond the left-field fence and was known for his pre-game dance routines on the pitcher’s mound. His presence at Braves games was more than entertainment; it was a symbol of Native American pride and culture. While other individuals also portrayed the mascot, Walker was the most renowned, being the sole representative of Native American heritage in this role.

Cultural Representation and Advocacy

Walker’s journey with the Braves began when he proposed the idea of having an authentic Native American actor to portray the mascot. His advocacy for cultural representation in professional sports was a significant step forward in the recognition and respect for Native American communities.

Memorable Moments and Challenges

Chief Noc-A-Homa has left behind two indelible memories in the minds of baseball fans. One such moment was when Walker celebrated a home run by Clete Boyer of the Braves in 1969 by igniting his tipi, which accidentally caught fire. Another significant aspect of Walker’s career was his earnings, reportedly being sixty dollars per game, reflecting the challenges and struggles faced by mascots in professional sports.

Legal Conflicts and Native American Representation

In 1972, the use of Native American imagery in sports came under scrutiny. Russell Means, a prominent activist, sued the Cleveland Indians over the “Chief Wahoo” logo. This event brought to light the broader issue of Native American representation in sports, a cause that Walker felt strongly about. He believed that Native American names in professional sports should be a source of pride for the community.

Legacy of Levi Walker Jr.

Levi Walker Jr.’s legacy extends beyond the baseball diamond. He was a figure of cultural significance, representing a bridge between the world of sports and the rich heritage of the Native American community. His portrayal of Chief Noc-A-Homa will be remembered not only for its entertainment value but also for its cultural importance.