A Chief Wahoo logo is shown on a baseball at the Cleveland Indians team shop, Monday, Jan. 29, 2018, in Cleveland. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Indigenous activist pleased to hear Cleveland’s baseball team planning name change

Indigenous activist pleased to hear Cleveland’s baseball team planning name change

Indigenous activist Douglas Cardinal applauded the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday for planning to change their team name and predicted it could have a “ripple effect” on other clubs with similar monikers.

The American League franchise announced Monday that it will drop the name it has been known by since 1915.

“I’m so glad that everybody did their job and realized that that (name) wasn’t right,” Cardinal said Tuesday from his Ottawa home.

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team will continue to use its current name until a new one is chosen, a process that’s expected to take at least a year.

Team owner Paul Dolan said the decision was made after months of internal discussions and meetings with groups, including Native Americans who have sought to have the club stop using a moniker many deem racist.

The 86-year-old Cardinal, a renowned architect, filed human rights complaints in 2016 in an attempt to stop the team from using the Chief Wahoo logo during a playoff series in Toronto against the Blue Jays.

The cartoonish image of a big-toothed man with a scarlet face and single feather in his headdress had been used by the team on caps and uniforms since 1947.

Cardinal said the proceedings were resolved two years later. Cleveland dropped the image from its gear for its final series at Rogers Centre in 2018 and made the full-time switch the next season.

“That was an amazing follow-through … I was just happy to see that everybody really did their jobs well and communicated well and resolved everything to everybody’s satisfaction,” Cardinal said. “And that created the opportunity for them to make the changes they felt were necessary, which they did, which is amazing. I congratulate them.”

The team had been transitioning away from Chief Wahoo in years before the change, switching to a block “C” logo in many areas. Word of the team’s latest change came after the recent retirement of some prominent longtime nicknames.

Washington’s NFL team and Edmonton’s CFL team dropped their names last summer. Similar monikers have been changed at the university, high school and youth sport levels.

However, several notable pro franchises — including the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks, MLB’s Atlanta Braves and the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs — are sticking with their team names.

“We can’t change the world overnight but when some people change, they create a precedent and others feel that they should as well,” Cardinal said. “So I think it has a ripple effect. Pretty soon I feel that others will feel that that’s bad manners.

“So (Cleveland has) created a positive precedent and they should be admired for doing that.”

Cardinal first decided to take action after noticing the Chief Wahoo figure during a game in 2016. He felt the mascot “ridiculed the images of First Nations people.”

“We shouldn’t do that to each other,” he said. “We should treat everybody with respect. I’ve always been concerned about human rights.”

Cardinal, who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1963, said he was inspired to use his voice after witnessing integration efforts at the school.

He felt members of the Black and white communities displayed bravery and developed a respect for each other to create a more honourable and just society.

“I think that it’s so important that when you see something that isn’t right, that you make it heard,” Cardinal said. “Because the horrible thing is just standing by and watching things happen that you know in your gut are not right.”

And when he looks back on his personal journey to make a change on the baseball front, he feels the effort was well worth it.

“Of course it was,” he said. “And it’s a good beginning for many issues.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 15, 2020.

With files from The Associated Press. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press


Just Posted

FILE - Anita Alexander takes an early morning paddle on Lacombe Lake. She has appealed a decision to make the lake into a stormwater drainage catchment. (Photo contributed by Anita Alexander)
Environmental hearing set for Blackfalds’ stormwater drainage into Lacombe Lake

An Environmental Appeals Board hearing over an approval to drain stormwater from… Continue reading

An anti-lockdown protest went ahead outside a café in central Alberta on Saturday, despite pouring rain and a pre-emptive court injunction.  (Photo by The Canadian Press)
Four people ticketed after hundreds attend anti-lockdown rally at central Alberta café: RCMP

MIRROR, Alta. — RCMP say they ticketed four people after an anti-lockdown… Continue reading

A woman uses her computer keyboard to type while surfing the internet in North Vancouver, B.C. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Study: Alberta workers paying ‘COVID tax’

An ADP Canada and Angus Reid workplace survey is showing that many… Continue reading

file photo
PM tells Canadians to prepare for one-dose summer, two-dose fall

Chief Public Health Officer says 75 per cent getting first dose is target to avoid fourth wave

Chris Scott, owner of the Whistle Stop Cafe, speaks during a rally against measures taken by government and health authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19 at his cafe in Mirror on Saturday. The Whistle Stop was shut down by AHS for not complying with COVID-19 rules. (Photo by The Canadian Press)
Central Alberta café owner and COVID-19 protester released from custody

Chris Scott was arrested at protest rally outside his cafe on Saturday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Here is a list of latest COVID-19 restrictions in effect in Alberta

New mandatory health restrictions are now in effect in Alberta. Additional restrictions… Continue reading

Sentries march off after a ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of V-J Day and the end of the Second World War, at the National War Memorial in Ottawa, on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020. The Canadian Armed Forces is reporting minimal progress at the midway point of its 10-year drive to increase the number of women in uniform. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang
Military reports minimal progress in drive to add more women to the ranks

OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is reporting minimal progress at the… Continue reading

Hassan Diab holds a news conference on Parliament Hill, in Ottawa Friday, February 7 , 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Canada must not extradite Diab regardless of coming French court decision: lawyer

OTTAWA — The Canadian government should not be part of any further… Continue reading

In this Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019 file photo, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, welcomes Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during official arrivals for a NATO leaders meeting at The Grove hotel and resort in Watford, Hertfordshire, England. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Francisco Seco
U.K. eyeing fall for start of detailed trade deal talks with Canada, minister says

OTTAWA — Britain’s trade minister says his country expects to kick-start talks… Continue reading

‘It is a gold mine:’ Builders warned of rising lumber thefts across Canada

The skyrocketing cost of lumber is fuelling a trend that has authorities… Continue reading

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Nunavut working to get Pfizer vaccine for territory’s teens

Nunavut’s chief public health officer says the government is working to get… Continue reading

A vial of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 at a hospital in Sofia, Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021, prior to the start of vaccination. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Valentina Petrova
Questions remain about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot in Canada

Questions remained Wednesday about the future of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Canada… Continue reading

Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) celebrates with defenseman Victor Hedman (77) after the team defeated the Dallas Stars during an NHL hockey game Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)
Analysis: McDavid NHL’s MVP front-runner in condensed season

Edmonton Oilers captain Connor McDavid has 100-plus point season

Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Jack Campbell (36) makes a save as Maple Leafs defenceman TJ Brodie (78) and Montreal Canadiens forward Tyler Toffoli (73) look for the rebound during first period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Saturday, May 8, 2021. The Leafs and the Canadiens will meet in the playoffs for the first time in 42 years when the 2020-21 NHL post-season gets underway.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Most Read