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Native American group is protesting Cleveland Indians during Arizona trip

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Fresh off news that the Washington Redskins have lost a trademark ruling regarding their name, the Indians are being protested during their visit to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The group, Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry, is led by a social worker named Amanda Blackhorse.

“I know people don’t understand why we do this,” said Blackhorse, a social worker in Kayenta, on the Navajo Nation. “They say things like, ‘What about the Vikings? Are they next?’ But the Vikings aren’t an indigenous people of North America who are historically oppressed.

“We still exist. People think we’re actually like the Vikings… an idea of a people from the past.”

In the clip below, Blackhorse goes on to say that Chief Wahoo is one of the most racist logos “out there.”

  • mgbode

    All I know about Bob Feller the person was that he was nice to me the few times I ran into him (autograph session at Discount Drug Mart and a couple times at other events).

    But, Bob Feller the player had a few nice qualities:

    (1) Told NYY and BRS to stick it and stayed in Cleveland despite having the ability to end his contract after his rookie year and jump to get more $$$ (funny considering how important $$$ and ability to move teams became to him later).

    (2) Big part of our last baseball championship.

    (3) Was ‘exempt’ from WWII, yet signed up for the Navy anyway in the prime of his career

    (4) Befriended Satchel Paige at a time when that was not so accepted. Yes, it was to go on a barnstorming tour with the Negro League Allstar team and make a ton of $$$ (for the time), but he is the one that headed it up and was also at a time when just playing those teams was frowned upon (and is still considered one of the last dominoes to fall to get those players in the bigs).

    (5) Big proponent of free agency go give players more freedom and fought for it after his playing days.

  • cmm13

    Unfortunately this is already taken by the Roller Derby Girls in town.

  • mgbode

    I don’t believe that should be too much of a problem if we really wanted it. I am not sure, but would guess MLB makes a fair amount more than a local Roller Derby league and could take the rights to the name off their hands.

    Also, great that someone is using that name (other than a terrible tasting beer — love GL, but not GL-BR).

  • cmm13

    This is the Dolanz we are talking about here… more money than the roller girls???? MMMmmmmm….. maybe.

  • mgbode

    Roller girls probably outdraw the Indians, but it’s a good thing that MLB shares some of the TV money. I think that would push it over the top here.

  • CBI

    Nice research. I hadn’t heard of this before.

  • humboldt

    It is a joke, yes, but it also means Wahoo has moved into the national crosshairs and the Dolans are no longer in control of the narrative (not that they wanted to be anyway)

  • mgbode

    when hasn’t Wahoo been in the national crosshairs? it has at least been there since the ’95 WS.

  • humboldt

    Public opinion has drastically shifted in two decades, and, as Andrew pointed out, the internet/social media make it impossible for this debate not to go viral. Action by the Dolans could have preempted this inevitable process, but alas Pandora’s box is open

  • mgbode

    my point is that it has been a national topic (and yes, grown over the past 20-30 years). this lawsuit does nothing to really ignite it further (other than give ESPN a reason to bring up a common talking point).

  • Allen P

    The only good reason I could imagine for the Cleveland baseball team to attempt to “honor” native Americans with its name and/or logo is if native Americans had a major stake in the team itself, either in the past or present. And no, the fact that the team had a native American player 100+ years ago, who was roundly mistreated by fans, does not qualify (Sockalexis)

  • Matthew R Shadrake

    You should look up the history of the Notre Dame football team then. They adopted the name themselves, a catholic school primarily comprised of Irish-Americans, as a way of “owning” a phrase that was used against them. It’s being used primarily by people who are white, and often are Irish-American and Catholic. They own their own term.

    It’s a lot different from a white billionaire having a team of non-Natives calling themselves The Redskins.

  • humboldt

    The moral stakes are higher in the national debate than they were decades ago. Now, no less than the president of the United States is asked to comment on the issue. Any attention – even canards like the lawsuit – contributes to a sense of urgency to deal with the issue. Can’t you feel it compounding every day? Even the intensity of the debate we’ve had here has ramped up in recent months.

  • humboldt

    The United States government willfully subjected Native Americans to ethnic cleansing, and the painful vestiges of this policy can still be seen in the hardscrabble lives of indigenous people living in reservations across the US. Black people were sold into legal servitude in our country until the mid-19th century, and have since been subjected to virulent racism, state-enforced segregation, and countless other indignities. If you don’t recognize the immorality of not only promoting demeaning cartoon caricatures of these peoples but also using them to generate commercial revenue I can only conclude that you’ve simply decided to see what you want to see.

    As for your Irish/English example, you don’t pretend not to see the difference between the two contexts, right?

  • Saxon Voice

    Try doing some more reading and learn about the importance of Intent and context.

    And since you have learned so much about the “American Indians” why don’t you go protest the institutions most responsible for their annihilation; the U.S. Gov and the United States Army.

    No, instead of laying blame at the real culprits of the destruction of the Native Americans lets go after some stupid logo for some stupid sports team.

    How about you go read and see where all these groups that are protesting get their money. Its from Politically correct idiots and the U.S. Gov. They wouldn’t dare bite the hand that feeds them so instead lets go after Private companies since their non-profits need the money.

    This is nothing more than a cash grab and Political Correctness run amok.

    Im Offended that you’re offended.

  • I do like how you put “American Indians” in quotes. Just an FYI, that’s their preferred nomenclature. Not “Native Americans”.

    There’s so much useful information on this subject on the National Congress of American Indians’ website: http://www.ncai.org/

    I could protest the US government, but I don’t know what that would accomplish. Removing Chief Wahoo is something that we can actually do that actually accomplishes something, no matter how small you might think it is (it might seem small to you, but to the American Indians who are represented by a stereotype, it’s a bigger deal).

  • Saxon Voice

    Way to show some backbone. You know how the same authority and language the gov the used to kill Indians they now use to kill innocent people in the middle east, I guess that’s too much thought for you. And considering that the NCAI is partnered with the department of defense and department of justice I doubt they care either about what the US gov is doing.

    Removing chief wahoo doesn’t do anything. The only thing you are saying is that some people’s feelings are hurt and a cartoon logo needs to be changed. Nobody who wears chief wahoo, does the tomahawk chop, or roots for the redskins is doing it with the intention of demeaning anything. What is going on is the very definition of cash grab and political correctness.

    Whose other feelings are entitled to the crusade that you have set upon? I’m offended that your offended.

  • Hopwin

    Ok then since you’ve set the bar @ government ethnic cleansing and slavery in the United States let’s rename
    the team to the Wetbacks and have a Sleepy Hispanic (like Slopoke Gonzalez) for a mascot and we should be golden.

  • humboldt

    I’m struggling to understand whether you actually have no moral qualms about the examples we are discussing (and which you are inventing). What point are you trying to make? I worry that this is revealing more about your own biases than it is illuminating the issue, which is why I advised you not to pursue this line of argumentation

  • Hopwin

    My assertion is that the Fighting Irish is racially insensitive and offensive. You are arguing for something to be offensive it requires government sanctioned genocide and slavery.

  • Allen P

    “Removing cheif wahoo doesn’t do anything”

    Sure it does. It shows that we’re capable of understanding that symbols can in fact be harmful, and human enough to listen to the reasonable requests of a people who are harmed by it.

    This isn’t about extortion, it isn’t about political correctness. It’s about being kind to people.

  • humboldt

    This argument plays out in almost every discussion about Wahoo, but here goes…

    Many/most Irish people embrace the Fighting Irish moniker. There is very little cultural angst about it because the Irish have been well-assimilated into American life and have not been subjected to state-sponsored slavery, genocide, or other indignities by the US government. Further, the pugnaciousness of the people — a trait generally celebrated in the Irish-American community — is seen as being embodied in the logo/name. If it were the “Drunken Irish” or something pejorative that is built on a hurtful stereotype, as in your Hispanic example, it would be widely condemned. Surely you understand the subtle differences at play here?

    Now, to use your earlier example, if the English – who have a complex colonial relationship with the Irish — developed a Wahoo-esque logo of the Fighting Irish for one of their football teams, that would be highly culturally insensitive and offensive. You understand the cultural contingency inherent in this example, right?

  • Hopwin

    Yes I understand that the parameters YOU SET YOURSELF are different than my own. And that when pressed on other examples you will backpedal to redraw the line of what is or isn’t offensive. If I said 90% of Native Americans are fine with Wahoo (which they probably aren’t) you would draw a new line to prove it still is.
    Because the bottom line is that “White people are the oppressors and white people cannot be offensive or oppressive of other white people.” As an Irish person who finds Notre Dame offensive my vote doesn’t count because of my skin color.

  • humboldt

    I’ve offered you reasoned arguments throughout this thread, responding thoughtfully to all your questions. However, you continue to attack me without addressing any aspects of my argument – clearly you aren’t interested in a productive conversation.

  • Saxon Voice

    “Sure it does. It shows that we’re capable of understanding that symbols can in fact be harmful, and human enough to listen to the reasonable requests of a people who are harmed by it.”

    It also shows that people are too ignorant/stupid to understand or consider the concepts of intent and context.

    But I guess dumbing down people/society/everything in America is okay so long as no one’s feelings are getting hurt.

  • Allen P

    Aha. So, American Indians are ignorant and stupid for finding a caricature of their people, whose “sambo” style is rooted in racism, offensive?

    I can’t begin to imagine how in any universe that compassion and understanding equals “dumbing down” anything.

    Sorry man, you’ve lost me. Color me ignorant and stupid.

  • Saxon Voice

    Are atheists stupid for finding angels offensive? Are southerners stupid for finding the term Yankee offensive? How about pirate’s? Pirates were heavily involved in the slave trade, are African-Americans stupid for finding pirate’s offensive?

    You and the people protesting should try looking up the words intent and context in the dictionary.

    The only thing I can summarize is that you really don’t understand much. If compassion and understanding is what you are clinging too than I have some snake oil I would like to sell you.

    I’m offended that you’re offended. Do I deserve any compassion or understanding.

    Sorry man, you are lost. I will color you ignorant and stupid, next time you sing the national anthem think about what that song means to the group you “supposedly” have so much compassion and understanding for.

  • Allen P

    Not sure why I’m bothering, but here goes:

    1. Angels are theoretical beings, not “real live flesh and bone” humans (and atheists aren’t offended by them regardless)
    2. The term “yankee” was coined by southerners to insult northerners, so I doubt they’re the ones offended
    3. Pirates. Awesome.
    4. I’m not protesting anything, but I respect and understand why Indians do
    5. I’m not “clinging” to anything. You’re the one “clinging” to a stupid freaking mascot which doesn’t mean a thing in the real world
    6. I’m not offended, but I know Indians are. And stop saying “I’m offended that you’re offended.” Repetition doesn’t make it any more meaningful.
    7. Thanks for insulting me.

    Have a great day!