While the Cleveland Indians are on the verge of capturing their first World Series title since 1948, there are renewed calls for the team to get rid of their insensitive name and racist symbolism. Specifically, there have been requests from Native Americans for the team to get rid of their offensive logo, Chief Wahoo.
In the year 2016, there are still many professional, collegiate, and scholastic team names that are incredibly offensive — including several teams with degrading imagery that stereotype and offend Native Americans.
Writer Sterling HolyWhiteMountain, who lives on the Blackfeet Reservation, wrote in a blog to ESPN that the controversy with Cleveland's logo extends far beyond racism.
"What remains unaddressed is the true history of Indian Country, which is to say the true history of the United States: a story of abrogated treaties, of tribal sovereignty limited by Congressional law and of specious Supreme Court decisions, all of which have either hampered or destroyed the ability of tribal people to govern themselves as political sovereigns on their own land," HolyWhiteMountain wrote. "It is this history that created a set of systems that keep tribal nations locked in a suffocating political and economic limbo."
Cleveland's appearance in the World Series is also occurring during the peaceful Native American protest near the Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota.
There isn't much of a defense as to why sports organizations cling onto their offensive mascots. Arthur Chu, a writer and Jeopardy! contestant who lives near Cleveland, was told that the reason he doesn't understand "the affection for the [Cleveland] mascot" is because he's not originally from that city.
In one tweet, Chu points out the irony with that statement.
The good news is that progress is being made to cease the use of these offensive names and logos in sports. Last year, Adidas pledged to provide free resources to high schools that choose to end their offensive sports imagery.
And HolyWhiteMountain is hopeful that Cleveland will come to its senses one day.
"I will watch this Series because I want to tell these kids, when they're old enough to understand, that once there was a World Series played when the most racist mascot imaginable was everywhere you looked, while at the same time Indians, real ones, were being illegally arrested in another state, peacefully protesting a pipeline that endangered millions of Americans," he wrote.
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