Cleveland Indians to meet with Native American groups to discuss perspective on name

Cassandra Negley
·2 min read

The Cleveland Indians will meet with Native American groups while they consider a name change, the Associated Press reported.

The organization announced in early July it was “committed to making a positive impact in our community” and was internally discussing changing its name hours after the Washington Football Team said it would do a “thorough review” of its team name.

Cleveland baseball focused on social justice, racial equality

Owner Paul Dolan said talks with players, executives and manager Terry Francona have been “candid and productive.” Francona has previously said he supports a name change.

The potential name change is part of the organization’s focus on social justice and racial equality, platforms the players “feel strongly about.”

Via the Associated Press:

“As I explained to our players, I am invested in engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to help determine the best path forward with regard to our team name. In the coming weeks, we will engage Native American leaders to better understand their perspectives, meet with local civic leaders, and continue to listen to the perceptions of our players, fans, partners and employees.

“We feel a real sense of urgency to discuss these perspectives with key stakeholders while also taking the time needed to ensure those conversations are inclusive and meaningful.”

The name change would be the first since 1905. It had been the Bluebirds in 1901, then the Broncos and the Naps before it settled on the Indians name.

It had already removed the Chief Wahoo logo from game apparel after the 2018 season. It had been a part of the teams since the 1930s.

Native American organizations encourage name change

A sign reading "Indians" at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
The Indians will meet with Native American leaders to find a way forward with their name. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Four Native American organizations in Northeast Ohio encouraged the team to change its name earlier this month. Members of the group said the name reinforces harmful racial stereotypes about Native Americans that contribute to low self-esteem and community worth.

Josh Hunt of the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance wrote in a statement, via News 5 Cleveland:

"Native Americans, like all people, want our children to believe in themselves and have the confidence to follow their dreams. A growing body of scientific research clearly demonstrates Native American team names and logos reflect and reinforce harmful racial stereotypes about Native Americans. These images and team names have been found to contribute to low self-esteem, low community worth, increased stress and depression in Native people—especially in Native youth. In Cleveland, we see these findings reflected in the experiences of our community members.”

They cited research by the American Psychological Association.

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