5 April 2012 - Statement of the Cleveland American Indian Movement on Forty Years of Protest against Cleveland Baseball


April 5, 2012

CLEVELAND, Ohio - For four decades the Cleveland American Indian Movement has strongly denounced Cleveland Baseball's use of Native references as bigoted, racist and shameful. Since 1972 we have called for the immediate removal of the team name “Indians” and the logo “Chief Wahoo” due to their offensive nature as historical symbols of genocide and White Supremacy. For forty years Cleveland Baseball has disregarded our demands in an effort to make a buck.

OUR VOICES ARE NOT ALONE! In 2000 Cleveland Baseball ignored a request made by the Penobscot Nation to discontinue use of “Chief Wahoo”. The franchise has also ignored the Penobscot Nation's 2009 resolution asking them to retire this image and demonstrate they understand “the disrespect this symbol represents to the Penobscot Nation... and the legacy of Louis Sockalexis.”

RACISM AGAINST ONE IS RACISM AGAINST EVERYONE! In 2001 the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights issued a statement calling for the removal of all Native references in sports by non-Native teams as they are detrimental to the well-being of Native children; in 2005 the American Psychological Association expressed similar findings. We say that these images detrimentally affect all children for racism against one is racism against everyone. That Cleveland Baseball has repeatedly disregarded the findings of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and others, and continues to perpetuate the most visibly degrading and dehumanizing image in the United States, is intolerable in a diverse society — it teaches racism to all children and perpetuates the myth of White Supremacy.

LITTLE RED SAMBO MUST GO! The Cleveland American Indian Movement continues to demand that Cleveland Baseball immediately abolish its heinous use of the “Indians” team name and the indignant, despicable “Chief Wahoo” logo. We further insist that Major League Baseball immediately prohibit the use of American Indian names, logos, references and symbology — consistent with what the NCAA has imposed at the Collegiate level — and enforce this ban.

WE DEMAND DIGNITY, NOT “HONOR”! It is our commitment at the Cleveland American Indian Movement to continue to make our voices heard every Opening Day until we have achieved our aim.




Sundance, Executive Director
Cleveland American Indian Movement
+1 (216) 533-7423