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Indigenous groups respond to Indians’ name change

Amoriya, left, and Josh Hunt protest Chief Wahoo before a home opener baseball game between the...
Amoriya, left, and Josh Hunt protest Chief Wahoo before a home opener baseball game between the Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Indians, Friday, April 6, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)(Tony Dejak | AP)
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 11:11 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND (WOIO) - Indigenous groups, some of which have long wanted the Cleveland baseball team to change their name, are reacting to the announcement the club will be known as the Guardians starting in 2022.

“For six decades our community has fought tirelessly to be recognized as diverse and vibrant, instead of portrayed in inaccurate and harmful ways,” The Cleveland Indigenous Coalition said in a press release sent out by the Indians. “By agreeing to change the team name away from Indigenous themes, the Cleveland baseball team is helping to create a place where Native American children and their families feel valued and fully seen. During this period of transition, we look forward to continued collaborative efforts with the team to move in a direction of healing, and to create a better future for all generations to come.”

The Lake Erie Native American Council issued the following statement: “Today, we stand with our heads held high and full of gratitude to those who came before us in this fight. Our community has worked tirelessly to be recognized as diverse and vibrant, instead of being portrayed in inaccurate and harmful ways. This name change will help create a place where Native American children and their families are valued and fully seen.”

The Indians said The Cleveland Indigenous Coalition and the National Congress of American Indians “were both active contributors to [the team’s] listening and learning process.”

For years, some Indigenous groups voiced their opposition to the Indians name. The Cleveland American Indian Movement protested outside of the stadium ahead of every home opener the team played for more than five decades.

The Indians stopped using the Chief Wahoo logo in 2018.

In 2021, the Indians banned fans from wearing headdresses or face paint that mimics Native American culture at Progressive Field.

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