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: