The Cleveland Indians mascot Chief Wahoo is, once again, being protested by American Indian groups

American Indians Mark 20th Year of Protesting Cleveland Indians Mascot Chief Wahoo


The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that the Cleveland American Indian Movement will be protesting the Cleveland Indians team name and their Chief Wahoo logo for the 20th season in a row. The protest will take place outside of the club's Progressive Field at the home opener this Thursday against the Toronto Blue Jays.  The game starts at 3:05pm.

A second protest, this organized by the Committee of 500 years of Dignity and Resistance, will protest outside of the stadium during the second Blue Jays game this Saturday, at 1:05 pm.

Ferne Clements, of the 500 Years committee, told the Plain Dealer that the protests have been effective, if only to make people aware of the problem.

"Colleges and high schools around the country have done the right thing and dropped names of sports teams that are demeaning to indigenous people," she said. "We want our hometown team to do the same. We're not just being politically correct here, this is morally wrong."

Clements said that most of the people attending the early games will likely walk by the group with little acknowledgment, while others will shout unkind sentiments at them.

"The younger fans with a few beers in them get vocal," she said. "We're noticing that some lower their heads when they pass by. They know it's wrong and feel ashamed."

Bob DiBiasio, spokesman for the Cleveland Indians, told the Plain Dealer that the team respects the opinions of American Indians.

"We truly believe it is an individual perception issue," he said. "When people look at our logo, we believe they think baseball. We have added a logo, the block C, recently in addition to the Wahoo logo and the script 'Indians'. Fans of the team have alternative ways to express their support.

Sundance, the director of the Cleveland American Indian Movement, told the Plain Dealer that American Indians have been protesting the ball club's name and mascot since "the original AIM was formed in 1973. There have been several changes to the American Indian Movement in Cleveland since it began."

"This behavior is exploitative, bigoted, racist and shameful," Sundance told the Plain Dealer. "It makes fun of genocide and mocks mass murder. The logo is just the head of an Indian. That means he is an ex-Indian. This has been going on for more than 50 years. I hope it does not continue for another 50."

The Plain Dealer posted a reader poll on their site that've pasted below.  It appears a majority of their readers think these protests are unjust:

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denisehayes-bales's picture
Submitted by denisehayes-bales on
Those that say it is not offensive are not Native soooo How would they know what is offensive to Natives? Has nothing to do with "overly sensitive" people it has to do with pure and simple racism. The name would be changed if it offended another race of people! Doesn't surprise me though, like I said if this logo offended African Americans, White Americans, Hispanic Americans - It would be revamped IMMEDIATELY! Guess even over time nothing changes for the Native American!

Zydecojoe's picture
Submitted by Zydecojoe on
Did the powers to be sit down with the parents of Louis Sockalexis and ask them Mam, Sir what do you guys think about our organization honoring your son by THIS! and they Whip out this Cartoon Little Red Sambo, isn't this great ? since some claim this was what the logo was all about from the beginning,honoring the first Native American to play in the Major League,or for that matter bring it to the attention of a Indigenous American organization for their opinion, Well NO none of that happened,How insensitive can you be! We all remember the book "Little Black Sambo" this book was even taught in the school system,and what about SAMBO"S now know as Denny's,things that have been protested and are now gone.Indigenous Americans have every right to protest this Logo,just paint it black and see the outrage that will occur, BUT NOOOOO! How about naming the team "THE MISTAKE ON THE LAKE' I'm sure those baseball caps and shirts will sell like crazy!I say get rid of the LOGO and Maybe this team will start to win! because as far as I'm concerned the team is under the curse of Louis Sockalexis,it is his way of saying how dare you demean me this way.