Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Cleveland Indians Baseball Team Announces It is Dropping its Nickname

Cleveland Indians major league baseball team, which was established in 1901 as one of the founding members of the American League, announced yesterday that it would be choosing a new nickname following the 2021 season.

Although the team had several nicknames between 1901 and 1914, in 1915 the Cleveland franchise settled on "Indians," hoping the name would bring it some of the same success the Boston Braves were having at the time in the National League.

In conjunction with the decision, the Cleveland Indians released the following statement:

The Cleveland Indians today announced our decision to begin the process of changing from our team name "Indians." Since July, we have conducted an extensive process to learn how our team name affected different constituencies and whether it aligned with our organizational values. As a result of that process, we have decided to move forward with changing the current team name and determining a new, non-Native American based name for the franchise. We believe our organization is at its best when we can unify our community and bring people together - and believe a new name will allow us to do this more fully.

Team Owner and Chairman Paul Dolan said, "Hearing firsthand the stories and experiences of Native American people, we gained a deep understanding of how tribal communities feel about the team name and the detrimental effects it has on them.  We also spoke to local civic leaders who represent diverse populations in our city and who highlighted the negative impact our team name has had on our broader population and on under-represented groups across our community.  I am truly grateful for their engagement and input, which I found enlightening and insightful.  When a sports team is aligned with its community, it unlocks the ability to unite people from different backgrounds and bring people together in support of their home team. While Indians will always be a part of our history, it is time to move forward and work to unify our stakeholders and fans through a new name.

I can understand how the "Redskins" name is considered offensive. I too can see why the Cleveland Indians got rid of its Chief Wahoo mascot years ago.  Chief Wahoo was a derisive nickname given to generic Indians and the smiling appearance of the mascot was more mockery than flattery.

But simply because a sports team is named after Native Americans doesn't make it derogatory.  If anything, it can be viewed as laudatory. Team owners generally don't choose a nickname for the purpose of insulting the home team.

Of course, post Cleveland Indians, we still have the Atlanta Braves baseball team and the Kansas City Chiefs football team.

I live in Indiana which means "Indian land."  I live more particularly in Indianapolis, which combines "Indian land" with the Greek word for "city," i.e. Indianapolis means Indian City.  Are we now going to require the renaming of the Hoosier state and its capital city?

Indiana is hardly alone.  There are 25 other states whose names have a Native American origin.  Should we rename them too?


Alabama is the name of an Indian tribe native to the state. This tribal name may have come from the word albina, which means "campsite" in their own language, or from the words alba amo, which mean "clearing brush."


Alaxsxix, which is a name from the Aleut language. This name means "place the sea crashes against."


Arizonac, which is a Spanish corruption of a local Indian name-- possibly the Tohono O'odham word alishonag, which means "little spring."


Acansa, which is the name of a Quapaw Indian town. Literally the name means "southern place."


Quinnitukqut, which is the Mohegan Indian name for the Connecticut River. Literally the name means "long river."


Illiniwek, which is the tribal name of the Illini tribe. Literally the name means "best people."


Ayuhwa, which is one of the tribal names of the Ioway Indian tribe. Literally the name means "sleepy ones."


Kansa, which is the name of the Kansa Indian tribe. Literally the name means "south" and is a shortened form of their own tribal name for themselves, People of the South Wind.


Kentake, which is an Iroquois placename meaning "meadow land."


Massachuset, which is a Wampanoag Indian name meaning "by the range of hills."


Mshigem or Misigami, which are the native names for Lake Michigan in the Potawatomi and Ojibwe languages. Both names mean "great lake."


Mnisota, which is the native name of the Minnesota River in the Dakota Sioux language. Literally the name means "cloudy water."


Misiziibi, which is the native name of the Mississippi River in the Ojibwe language. Ojibwe is not actually a native language of Mississippi state-- the language is spoken near the source of the Mississippi River in Minnesota, which is where the river got its name, and the state was later named after the river. Literally the name means "great river."


Missouria is the name of an Indian tribe native to the state. Their tribal name came from the word mihsoori, which means "big canoe people."


Nibthaska or Nibrathka, which are the native names for the Platte River in the Omaha-Ponca and Otoe languages. Both names mean "flat river."

New Mexico

Of course, New Mexico was named after the country of Mexico, but since Mexico itself is named after an American Indian word, the state of New Mexico is also! Mexico is a placename from the Aztec Indian language (Nahuatl.) It literally means "city of the Aztecs."

North Dakota

Dakota, which is the tribal name of the Dakota Sioux Indians. Literally the name means "the allies."


Ohiyo, which is the name of the Ohio River in the Seneca Indian language. Literally the name means "it is beautiful."


Okla Homma, which means "Red Nation" in the Choctaw Indian language.


This was a name given by early American settlers to the Columbia River. It was probably a Native American name which the settlers brought with them from another state, since it does not resemble names from the Native American languages of Oregon. It may have meant "beautiful river" in an eastern Algonquian language.

South Dakota

Dakota, which is the tribal name of the Dakota Sioux Indians. Literally the name means "the allies."


Tanasi, which was the name of a Cherokee Indian town in the region. Although "Tanasi" was recorded as the Cherokee name of this town, it does not specifically mean anything in the Cherokee language (just as many English place names are not specific words.) It may have been a shortened form of a longer Cherokee word or phrase, or it may have been named after a Cherokee person.


Taysha, which means "friend" in the Caddo Indian language.


Ute is the name of an Indian tribe native to the state. This tribal name may have come from the word nuutsiu, which means "the people" in their own language.


Wishkonsing, which is the Ojibwe name for the Wisconsin River. However, this word does not have a specific meaning in the Ojibwe language, and none of the Ojibwe Indians in our organization knows any oral traditions about where the name came from.


Chwewamink, which means "by the big river flat" in the Lenape Indian tribe. The Lenape Indians never actually lived in Wyoming-- it was originally the name of a town in Pennsylvania, and white settlers from that area brought the name with them when they moved west.

OOP's short takes:

  • Early this morning, Donald Trump retweeted Atlanta Attorney Lin Wood's claim that the President would be soon locking up Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger.  Wood is spearheading the effort to encourage Georgia Republicans to not vote in the Senate run-off election because Kemp and Raffensperger supposedly helped Joe Biden win the state by allowing voter fraud.  Trump's tweet was not helpful to the GOP turnout cause.OOP's short takes:
  • Politico has a story about how Trump's new "leadership" political action committee Save America is using the Georgia run-off elections to solicit political contributions for the two Republican Senate candidates, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler But in reality 75% of the money is kept by Save America (which Trump can use for basically anything he wants) while 25% goes to the Republican National Committee.  Although the RNC is making a sizable contribution to the two Senate candidates, none of the money Save America is passing along to the RNC has to be spent on the race.
  • Today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor to congratulate President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.  It would be nice too if McConnell would disavow the election fraud nonsense Trump is peddling to his most gullible supporters, but I won't hold my breath on that happening.
  • President Trump is angry that the investigation into Hunter Biden possibly not paying taxes on $400,000 in income was, per Justice Department policy, kept under wraps by Attorney General  Bill Barr until after the 2020 election.  Of course, Trump himself benefited from that very same policy in 2016 when it was not revealed until after the election that his campaign was under investigation for its many contacts with Russia relating to the election.
  • Of course, Bill Barr doing the right thing doesn't wipe out all the dishonest and disreputable things he did as Attorney General, maybe the most serious one being how he held on to the Mueller Report for weeks so he could lie to the American public about what was in it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sure. Why not remove all the names of the states. We'll just become "Federal Administrative District Number 19"

Then remove any offensive numbers.

Double Plus Good