News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Lehmans


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
People


Another Indians season opens with Chief Wahoo under scrutiny
Team officially adopts a block-letter 'C' as its logo as pressure mounts to drop the smiling, 63-year-old msacot
by WKSU's KABIR BHATIA


Reporter
Kabir Bhatia
 
Progressive Field was packed with 41,274 Indians fans on Friday, while about two dozen people protested outside
Courtesy of K. Bhatia
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Correction: While ESPN writers including Paul Lukas and Stephanie Liscio have called for the logo change, the organization has taken no stance.

The Cleveland Indians spent their home-opening weekend battling the Minnesota Twins, and losing the series 2-1. The team is also battling increasing pressure to drop its Chief Wahoo mascot. WKSU’s Kabir Bhatia reports.
Kabir Bhatia reports on Chief Wahoo

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (2:23)


Cleveland Indians fans have plenty to think about this season. The team is coming off its first playoff appearance in six years. It’s the first time expanded instant replay is being used by Major League Baseball. The sin tax on this May’s ballot could be key to updating Progressive Field. And support against mascot Chief Wahoo appears to be growing.

“If we called it the Cleveland Blacks or the Cleveland Jews, there would be a problem," says Robert Rocha, head of the American-Indian Education Center. "Why is it OK to call it the Cleveland Indians?”

He's been coming to opening day pretty much since Progressive Field opened 20 years ago, accompanied by protestors who don’t like the smiling, red-faced logo. In recent weeks, The Plain Dealer’s editorial board, and Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed, have come out against Wahoo as well. But fans like Dustin Lindeman from Canton say the chief is an homage to Native Americans.

“It is a part of our heritage. It is 100-percent not as offensive as a man in blackface. It is not being portrayed in a negative sense."

The Indians seem to have de-emphasized Chief Wahoo, adopting the block-letter ‘C’ as the official team logo this year. Social media has been abuzz with people diagraming how to remove Wahoo patches from jerseys and caps, and even ESPN has endorsed dropping the mascot. But if that happens, Roger Schmid from Boardman will stick with the logo he knows.

“I like the Chief Wahoo. I know it’s in the news and everything right now. But it’s part of the tradition. It’s Cleveland baseball. I don’t see it going away. I don’t want it to go away.”

But the biggest problem with Chief Wahoo for many Native Americans is his feather, says Lynn O’Keefe from Cleveland.

“Feathers are very sacred to Native American people. We use them in our dances [and] our ceremonies.”

Robert Rocha adds, “That’s an honor bestowed by our spiritual people. It’s blasphemous. It’s a part of our religion.”

Chief Wahoo was commissioned by Indians’ owner Bill Veeck in 1947. He said he wanted a logo that conveyed “a spirit of pure joy and unbridled enthusiasm.” The finished product was redesigned to its current form in 1951, and has been gracing ball caps and jerseys ever since. But there’s one other problem with “Chief Wahoo”: chiefs have full headdresses. The Indians’ mascot has just one feather… and that, technically, makes him a Brave.
Listener Comments:

The picture you have for Robert rocha is not him. He has long hair. No idea who that guy is in that picture


Posted by: Anonymous (Cleveland) on July 25, 2014 10:07AM
Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

Summit County takes the Akron arena out of the sales tax equation
David should be commended for his efforts to "wake up" the politicians of Summit County and the City of Akron. However, I still don't trust any of them and I a...

Brunswick will turn tornado sirens back on after bad weather
Put the sirens back after the storms, in the mean time just sit and wait for another tornado . That's Brunswick for you lived here 44 years and it has always be...

Oberlin council may rescind its gun ban, but is considering alternatives to keep it in effect
Seems that the only scared, paranoid people are the anti-gun people, really.

Massive pipeline planned to pump Ohio shale products to Texas
This needs stopped. Ohioans pay the price, putting up with pollution, leaks, explosions, and the top one percent profit from exporting fracked product to China.

National Weather Service confirms three tornado touchdowns yesterday
I was driving back from a party and was caught in the middle of a large thunderstorm. The hail and lightning were a whole light closer than usual, is something ...

Portman predicts McDonald's confirmation, but says it won't be easy
I sent the following note to Senator Blumenthal after reading commentary from yesterday's hearing: Senator, You certainly have the right to ask Mr. McDonald que...

Seven minutes changed everything, but what changed Ashford Thompson?
He shot the guy four times in the head. I have never been that drunk or mad, and I have been through it. Shoot a guy once is bad, maybe a mistake, shoot a guy f...

First cricket farm in the U.S. opens in Youngstown
I am interested in cricket flour to replace soy flour in a low carbohydrate diet. As soon as you have cricket flour available for the average person, please le...

New process starts digesting sludge in Wooster
Awesome! When do our sewage rates decrease accordingly?

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University