The opening week of baseball in Cleveland is always a celebration for baseball fans, but not for everyone.
Most of these protesters were Native Americans themselves, but not all. They were protesting peacefully and even told fans to enjoy the game. The only thing they want people to realize is that the use of “Chief Wahoo” as the team’s logo is wrong.
When this issue is brought up there are two trains of thought.
The first is that the logo is indeed racist. This also calls into question the logos of the Washington Redskins, Florida State Seminoles, and Atlanta Braves among others. Each of these teams have their own individual controversies, and some have resolved conflicts regarding their mascots.
Regarding the Indians and “Chief Wahoo”, I do believe that the use of this logo is racist. Even the team’s name is derogatory, as the term Indian makes little sense regarding Native Americans, as they are not Indian. This is an improper term that goes back to the days of Christopher Columbus.
The logo is ironic in a sense, as it features the colors of red, white, and blue, which are the colors of the American flag. I am (almost) positive that the colors were not meant to be a direct bashing of Native Americans, but it is a possibility.
The other train of though regarding the topic is to say that the issue should just be forgotten. The logo was made decades ago and is now just tradition. Growing up as an Indians fan, I can see this argument as valid.
However, changing the team’s logo to something as simple as a block “C” would not be all that bad. Changing the team’s name entirely is a completely different story.
The Indians utilize the block “C” on their hats, and the rebranding would not be an issue. Their mascot is “Slider” which does not even remotely resemble “Chief Wahoo”.
For those who argue that Native Americans need to let the logo be, they must realize where the Native American protestors are coming from. I say “protestors” because not all of the Native American population is against the use of the logo.
The “Chief Wahoo” logo is derogatory towards the entire history of Native American tribes, especially when the team name is the “Indians”. It is just as bad as the team names that were used in the Negro Leagues, with the “Black Yankees” being a perfect example.
Sports are a form of entertainment, and teams should never cause controversy for their logos. I myself am a die hard Cleveland Indians fan who would have no problem with “Chief Wahoo” being replaced, as it is indeed derogatory and racist.
Time will tell if those in the organization, or the league office, agree.