Beginning with 2019, Chief Wahoo, the official logo of the Cleveland Indians baseball team will be abandoned, as stated by the Major League Baseball.
Chief Wahoo logo, depicting a caricature of a Native American, has been the subject of many scandals and protests, as many Native Americans consider it a racist symbol. On the other hand, many of the Cleveland Indians’ fans cherish the team’s emblem.
However, Cleveland Indians’ Chief Wahoo is not the only Native American symbol in the US’s sports world. Many teams have adopted nicknames or symbols that make reference to the Native American people. Some of them changed the nicknames and the badges upon anti-racism protests, while others are still using Native Americans nicknames and symbols, even though they are pressured to abandon them. One good example is the NFL’s Washington Redskins team, which shows no interest in a change.
Chief Wahoo has first appeared as the team’s logo in 1948. In the last decades, some racism-combating groups and Native Americans have orchestrated occasional protests and appealed the Cleveland Indians’ representatives to reconsider changing the emblem.
However, during the Mark Shapiro’s lead, in 2014, Cleveland Indians replaced the Chief Wahoo badge with the letter ‘C’. Shapiro admitted recently that he was feeling uncomfortable seeing the Chief Wahoo emblem on the team’s uniforms. After Shapiro’s move to Toronto Blue Jays, Cleveland Indians returned to the Chief Wahoo emblem but used it only from now and then.
In 2017, Rob Manfred, the commissioner for baseball, has pressured the Cleveland Indians CEO, Paul Dolan, to make a change. Cleveland Indians accepted the proposal and declared that the Chief Wahoo logo will be abandoned with the beginning of 2019. The American Indian Movement applauded the initiative but said that the change could’ve been made this year but, however, such a decision is “another step in the right direction”.