Story at a glance

  • The Cleveland Indians will reportedly retire the team name following a national push to stop using Native American culture, names and imagery in sports.
  • No alternative name has been confirmed.

One of Ohio’s MLB teams, the Cleveland Indians, will change its name following a national movement to remove mascots and monikers from sports teams that use Native American names and imagery.

The New York Times broke the story Sunday, reporting that the Cleveland professional baseball team will drop the “Indian” mascot from their official team name and logo. 

While Cleveland has not formally made the announcement, the Times estimates that it could revoke the name this week. The team’s new name has yet to be revealed, and the team may follow in the footsteps of the Washington Football Team and continue its season without a formal name until a new one is approved.


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The Cleveland Indians, Ohio’s second professional baseball team, have used that name since 1915. Native American advocates have been lobbying for the name and mascot depicting a Native American man to be removed. 

Over the summer, nationwide Black Lives Matter protests underscored the history of racism in the U.S. and how it remains in modern day institutions. Civil rights protests extended to recognize the marginalization of other groups, including Native Americans.

Similar to the Washington, D.C., football team, the Cleveland baseball team began retiring its cartoon mascot, Chief Wahoo, ahead of the 2019 season.

Regarding its name, the team consulted with Native American tribes in the Ohio region and nationally to discuss the implications of the name used for the sports team.

“We are committed to engaging our community and appropriate stakeholders to determine the best path forward with regard to our team name,” the team said in a July statement.


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Published on Dec 14, 2020