Posted August 8, 2006 04:58 am

The "Tomahawk Chop" started in 1984 during an FSU vs. Auburn football game.

What is the origin of the "war chant" that is played at FSU sporting events? FSU's "war chant" was first heard in its current form in 1984, although its roots extend back some two decades. In the 1960s, members of FSU's Marching Chiefs band chanted the melody of a popular cheer, "Massacre," during football games. In a sense, "Massacre" was the long version of the current war chant. During a football game against Auburn in 1984, the Marching Chiefs began to perform the cheer. Some students behind the band joined in and continued the "war chant" portion after the band had ceased. The result, which was not very melodic at the time, sounded more like chants by American Indians in Western movies. Most say it came from the fraternity section, but many spirited FSU fans added the "chopping" motion, a repetitious bend at the elbow, to symbolize a tomahawk swinging down. The chant continued largely among the student body during the 1985 season, and by the 1986 season was a stadiumwide activity. The Marching Chiefs refined the chant, adding its own special brand of musical accompaniment — and the result still is seen and heard today. The war chant soon spread around the nation to other teams with Native American names, such as Major League Baseball's Atlanta Braves and the National Football League's Kansas City Chiefs. However, the chopping motion gained more attention — and criticism — than did the chant itself. Former FSU President Dale Lick discussed the war chant in a 1993 column for USA Today: "Some traditions we cannot control. For instance, in the early 1980s, when our band, the Marching Chiefs, began the now-famous arm motion while singing the 'war chant,' who knew that a few years later the gesture would be picked up by other teams' fans and named the 'tomahawk chop'? It's a term we did not choose and officially do not use." Source: