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United Church Of Christ Calls Foul On Chief Wahoo, Redskins

Protesters with the UCC outside the executive offices of the Cleveland Indians
Brian Bull
/
WCPN
Protesters with the UCC outside the executive offices of the Cleveland Indians

A national church boasting a million members and 5,000 congregations is calling on the Cleveland Indians to change its name and drop Chief Wahoo as its mascot.

About 80 people marched towards Progressive Field last Tuesday, carrying a petition with nearly 3,000 signatures. A man wearing a Wahoo shirt was prodded by his friend to cross away from the oncoming group.

A lone team representative – who only identified himself as “Jake” – took the petition.

UCC Organizer Linda Jamarillo is hopeful the Indians’ front office hears their message.

An old neon Wahoo on display at the Crawford Autio-Aviation museum. The mascot for the Cleveland Indians has been the subject of multiple protests.
Credit Dunadel Daryoush / WCPN
/
WCPN
An old neon Wahoo on display at the Crawford Autio-Aviation museum. The mascot for the Cleveland Indians has been the subject of multiple protests.

“There’s a groundswell of religious people —across all faiths,” she said. “They really need to consider that we are all about the negative stereotyping. And 100 years is enough.”

Defenders of Indian mascots say it’s all to honor, not denigrate, Native Americans. Indians fan, Tom Murdock, sporting a Wahoo cap, shook his head at the crowd.

“It’s been here 100 years, and I hope they never change it,” he said. “I mean, it’s one of the most recognizable logos in the world. Not just the country, the world.”

The United Church of Christ, which is based in Cleveland, has targeted teams with Native American mascots, including the Washington Redskins, since 1991. The Indians spokesman did not return a request for comment.