Smoke Signals: It's time for Cleveland Indians' Chief Waho to get the ax

by TIM TROGLEN | HUDSON HUB-TIMES REPORTER Published:

Be warned. This column is not politically correct and could upset both pro and con Wahoo people. With that said, let's proceed.

The symbol of the Cleveland Indians' "chief Wahoo" is a racist caricature and should have been banned with "Jim Crow" laws and "whites only" drinking fountains. Period.

Opponents of Wahoo, myself included, were excited by recent reports stating the Cleveland Indians organization would phase out the hooked-nosed smiling Wahoo in favor of the block "C" for a logo.

The reports were wrong and Wahoo whoops on.

I'm a sports fan and I understand that the logo is a beloved symbol to many. I also understand it is alleged to honor the brave American Indians whom the tribe was named after. However, I assure you, Wahoo is not an honor to actual American Indians. I know; I'm part Cherokee.

The symbol is racist and it should go. Take a breath and let's reason this out.

Since 1972, the American Indian Movement has asked the team's ownership to do away with the logo. And while the various owners left, Wahoo remained. It seems political correctness has forgotten the American Indian.

I have a few other issues dealing with Cleveland Indians games and attendees. I'm not a fan of people wearing cheap head dresses and painted feathers to Indians' games. These are sacred symbols in many tribes.

A person attending a Halloween party would be ostracized if they wore "black face." However, fans routinely show up to Indians games wearing "red face," beating a tom-tom or other things to make them appear "Indian."

AS A SPORTS fan, I understand it. I was saddened recently when the baseball team I follow, -- the Pittsburgh Pirates -- decided to retire their buccaneer in favor of a plain "P." I'm also a Steelers fan. And if the team ever tried to change the logo, a revolt would ensue.

But those symbols are not a derogatory depiction of a race of people who have been looked down upon since Columbus missed a turn and hit North America.

Is there a solution? I don't know. Neither the team or a majority of the fans seem willing to part with Wahoo.

Maybe the organization could launch a campaign explaining why they want to continue to use Wahoo. Perhaps an explanation of why Wahoo is used and not a less racist depiction of an American Indian.

Do I think the logo was created as a degradation to American Indians? No. But do I think the symbol, under the political correctness that permeates our nation, is racist? Yes.

I don't have children, nor do I live on a reservation. But if I did, it would break my heart to try and explain to my little boy or girl why people are wearing symbols on their shirts and hats that make fun of us.

Am I starting a campaign to ax the chief? No. There are deeper problems in Indian Country than chief Wahoo. The logo has not caused poverty, the death of elders from lack of winter heat, alcoholism and gang violence on reservations.

But Wahoo does not help the self image of a people who were around long before baseball. And don't we want all Americans to feel equally loved and honored?

Can you guess my thoughts on the name Washington Redskins?

Email: ttroglen@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9435

Facebook: TimTroglenRPC

Twitter: @Trog_RPC

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  • Nice Article Tim,
    For your information,
    After More then 20 Years of protesting by the International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) against the rascist Chief Wahoo logo and the Cleveland Professional Baseball Team we are glad to achieve a small victory to know that they are phasing out the Chief Wahoo Logo....

    Chief Wahoo - "People Not Mascots" Logo
    Artist : David Jakupca
    Acrylic on Canvas 22" x 28" 1992 Signed Lower Right
    Current Owner the Lake Erie Native American Council (LENAC)

    The 'People Not Mascots' Logo is meant to be a Native Americans protest caricature of the Cleveland Indians Baseball team. It was originally painted by David Jakupca at the historic ARK in Berea Ohio incorporating elements of the Theory of Iceality on Environmental Arts. It has drawn criticism from some sportswriters, fans and local businessmen, but gained immediate acceptance among humanitarian, Peace, religious groups and Native Americans. It gained international popular attention when it was it exhibited by ICEA at the 1993 United Nations World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna Austria Official Travel Info and has become one of the most recognized anti-racists logo's in existence. It also caused repercussions for the groups connected with using the logo in protest demonstrations and this has been documented in the
    INTERNECINE MATRIX..
    Reference Links:
    INTERNECINE MATRIX http://theicea.com/page21
    WIKIPEDIA http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chief_Wahoo

    However, I DO expect to see a lot of people NOW jumping on the band wagon and taking some undeserved credit!!

    Washington Redskins Next!

    Peace Friend,
    Ambasdsador Renate