VIDEOS: How Do You Feel About Chief Wahoo? AIM’s Philip Yenyo & City Council’s Zack Reed

It’s been 100 years since the Cleveland baseball team started naming themselves the Indians, and 68 years since they started using the now-infamous Chief Wahoo mascot.

It has now been 24 years that Native American groups have demonstrated and protested, asking the team to abandon the mascot and logo and name.

CoolCleveland spoke with Philip Yenyo, Executive Director of the Ohio chapter of the American Indian Movement and co-chair of The Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance, and Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed who spoke out against the use of the symbols at a recent City Council meeting.


A march from W. 25th Street & Detroit Avenue to Progressive Field begins at noon on 2015 Opening Day, Fri 4/10. A note from Philip Yenyo: “Meet at W. 25th and Detroit by 11:30 am. Hopefully you can start marching at 12:30. WEAR RAIN GEAR, LOOKS LIKE RAIN SHOWERS.  WE WILL NOT CANCEL DUE TO RAIN. WE WON’T MELT.”


The next day, the All Nations Conference will take place at Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ at 2592 W. 14th Street on Sat 4/11 from 8AM to 2PM featuring guest speakers Charlene Teters, Clyde Bellecourt, David Narcomey and others.

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2 Responses to “VIDEOS: How Do You Feel About Chief Wahoo? AIM’s Philip Yenyo & City Council’s Zack Reed”

  1. Dr. Donald Shingler

    As you likely know by now, sportswriters named the Cleveland baseball team the “Indians.” The name was changed from the Cleveland Naps to the Cleveland Indians in 1915, and referred to Louis Sockalexis, a Native American who played for the Cleveland Spiders from 1897 to 1899.

    An editorial written in 1915, just days after the team changed its name to Indians. The editorial supports earlier arguments that the name is intended to honor Sockalexis a great Cleveland ballplayer and Native American. The editorial says that baseball fans “throughout the country” began to refer to the team as the “Indians” because of the Native American Indian’s baseball skill. The editorial said the name “serves to revive the memory of a single great player.”

    Sometime after World War II the icon, or mascot, Chief Wahoo was introduced. He is not a fighting Irisman, a Celtic, a Viking or a brave. He is a Chief. How might you change Chief Wahoo, if you were able to, if you wanted to? Might there be a better symbol, or mascot, to better represent a baseball team named in honor of a native American? Should the symbol not be an Indian at all? Should the team not be named after an Indian(s) at all? What would Jim Thorpe say? What if a Native American school names their team the fighting Cherokees, is that ok? Clearly mascots are chosen as praise, but is intention enough to validate the use of people as mascots? There seems to be mixed answers from research on the topic, see “Psychology Today”. Is it just time to say goodbye to any mascots that depict an ethnicity such as Irishman, Vikings, Redskins and leaving those that are ideas, objects, animals, or occupations such as boilermakers, cowboys, and dolphins? Chief Wahoo… should he stay or should he go now?

  2. James Levin

    Wahoo. How pathetic that it is even an issue anymore. Long past the time that the team and city should have buried the chief and changed the name. Go Spiders!

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