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Shocker: a team named the “Indians” uses a respectful, non-racist logo

Jan 6, 2014, 12:58 PM EDT

Spokane Indians logo

Not Cleveland, of course. It’s Spokane of the class-A Northwest League, which is an affiliate of the Texas Rangers. They have eschewed offensive caricatures and misplaced iconography for years, but now they have taken it one step further: their primary logo — developed in consultation with the Spokane Indian tribe — is now an “S” with “Spokane Indians” spelled out in the Salish language of the Spokane people.

There was a story about it in Indian Country Today at the end of December, talking about how and why it came about. Amazingly, it involved reasonable people doing reasonable things like not trafficking on racist logos and stereotypes and being respectful of one another. Imagine.

Of course the Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins and other teams with racist overtones to their Native American mascots and logos couldn’t possibly do this. It’d be unthinkable. For some reason.

(thanks to Rob Neyer for the heads up)

  1. tfbuckfutter - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    This is not for me.

    I want my Indian mascots big nosed, mo-hawked, redder than a baboon’s ass, and acting drunker than hell.

    Sincerely,
    Murica

    • woodenulykteneau - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Ha – good one, paleface.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:13 PM

      Fibber!

    • chacochicken - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:24 PM

      Couldn’t they at least use Johnny Depp’s Tonto?

      • yahmule - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:43 PM

        That dead crow tiara would be a badass logo and everybody knows it. This “political correctness” is ruining everything good.

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:25 PM

    I’m still waiting for my NY Jews hat, Craig.

  3. paperlions - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Total tangent, but any discussion of “indians” always reminds me of a discussion I witnessed back in my salad days.

    Joao (Brazilian of European descent): Celia, what do you guys do with your indians?”

    Celia (Mexican of Mayan descent): What do you mean?

    Joao: Where do you put them? Where do they live? On reservations or reserves or something?

    Celia: I don’t know. Mostly, I just go where ever I want. No one has stopped me yet.

    • tfbuckfutter - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      Also not applicable but this reminds me of a discussion I witnessed while Christmas shopping:

      Young African American Female: I like that shirt
      Young African American Male: I don’t. It’s too black.
      Female: What’s wrong with black? I’m black.
      Male: You’re really more brown.

      I’m assuming they were on a date, and I only heard that snippet because they were walking through the store at the time, but I will forever remember that conversation because it is exactly a conversation I would have with my wife…well, ok, not EXACTLY….

      • km9000 - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:46 PM

        How do you know they weren’t Canadian?

      • cur68 - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:58 PM

        I’ve had that conversation. The only difference is I’ve said it to my then wife, who’s Irish and we were talking about a set of white sheets with a high thread count that she fancied.

        “Honey, I’ll lose you in those things. Besides, you people get ideas when you see a set of white sheets.”

      • paperlions - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:02 PM

        Because that would have went like this:

        Young African Canadian Female: I like that shirt, eh.
        Young African Canadian Male: I don’t. It’s too black, eh.
        Female: What’s wrong with black? I’m black, eh.
        Male: You’re really more brown, eh.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        I was at a conference with my co-workers (who were black) and we had a group photo at the end. The photographer was having difficulties with the picture and after a few minutes, he said (all flustered) “I’m having a hard time lighting the shot.” You know I got razzed about that for some time. The pic *was* pretty funny. That said, the only ones who make fun of my white legs are white people. (/rolls her eyes while white person makes a big production out of putting on sunglasses)

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:23 PM

        Histor, methinks that leg thing may be similar to black people razzing one another about being too light or too dark.

        I guess outsiders don’t pay much attention to shade.

      • cur68 - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:26 PM

        ‘Lions: the tragedy is that I read your “eh” reply twice before I noticed the “eh”. That’s precisely how that conversation goes in Alberta.

    • mikhelb - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:30 PM

      In México there are reservations but to confine only the special rights they’ve been granted by the government over natural resources (mostly related to live resources)… though other indigenous groups have been demanding their rights to be respected so they can apply their own set of laws and social rules they’ve had since eons ago (to sell their daughters so they could be married at a young age, the right to apply the death penalty which it doesn’t exist in México, etc.).

      • paperlions - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:59 PM

        I am aware of some of those issues. The text I shared was just the beginning of the conversation as Joao didn’t (obviously) phrase his question very well, really, he was getting at the spirit of some of the issues you bring up….do indigenous groups in Mexico have the right to self governance, are such groups allowed to practice their cultural traditions that are not legal in the rest of the country, etc. But his blunt question and Celia’s typically snarky response were freaking hysterical….although, the difference in conceptual approaches to the question do show distinct differences in attitudes toward heritage in each country.

  4. miketreedy - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:29 PM

    Great to start the week with Craig whining about something. People don’t care if you are offended by the Indians logo. People come here to read about real baseball news not your PC views.

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:30 PM

      Yeah, it sure is awful to have an article about something a baseball team is doing on a baseball blog. What a ridiculous thing to do.

      • miketreedy - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        I said “real” baseball news. The logo for a minor league team doesn’t really count. This is just Craig using this blog to spread his PC political views again. The Indians logo has been the same for a very long time. I don’t think its really harming anyone including real Indians or the Indians organization. People like Craig just like to have something that is hurting their feelings so they have something to whine and preach about.

    • raysfan1 - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:33 PM

      Then “people” don’t actually have to read or comment on the article either, do they?

    • chacochicken - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:37 PM

      Maybe this isn’t the blog for you, brah.

      • miketreedy - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:59 PM

        All Craig does is repeat news` from real baseball reporters that he follows on Twitter. Then he writes his silly PC articles. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by the PC crap since this is a NBC Blog. So I will leave you all to be offended by the mean Cleveland Indians logo.

      • chacochicken - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:37 PM

        If you bothered to read the article, it cites and excellent example how a team using Native American names, iconography, etc. can do so in a way that benefits both. Perhaps you need to find another place to go so as you won’t be offended and whine about someone else’s blog posts.

    • koufaxmitzvah - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:41 PM

      You see whining. I see celebrating.

      The term I’m thinking now is Projecting.

    • mikhelb - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

      Craig is like that, acts all PC and yet acts as if he has a very “progressive” point of view in regards of steroids and illegal drugs use and abuse in baseball because.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:59 PM

        Because what? Don’t leave us hanging with your window into Craig’s soul?

    • chip56 - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:49 PM

      Don’t insult Craig – his fanboys will hunt you down.

  5. raysfan1 - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:35 PM

    Yeah, this isn’t hard. The Florida State Seminoles and Central Michigan Chippewas are both endorsed by the tribes for which they are named, for similar reasons of working with said tribes, offering scholarships, cultural studies, etc.

    • spudchukar - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:13 PM

      Still it would be nice if the “Chippewas” actually endorsed the real Native American name, Ojibwe.

      • raysfan1 - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:15 PM

        Perhaps, but if the tribe is cool with the name then so am I (as opposed to North Dakota calling themselves “Fighting Sioux” over the objection of the Lakota).

  6. janessa31888 - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:40 PM

    Craig, why don’t you take your concerns directly to the Indians front office instead of howling about it to those of us who have NO AUTHORITY to change the logo. I don’t like Chief Wahoo either, but I cant do anything about it other than not wearing it. What are we supposed to do?????!!!!

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:04 PM

      but I cant do anything about it other than not wearing it. What are we supposed to do?????!!!!

      Please be sarcasm, please be sarcasm, dear god I want this to be sarcasm!

    • chip56 - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      I agree with this – I would be delighted to read a letter sent by Craig – either as an individual citizen or in his capacity as a writer representing NBC – imploring the Cleveland Indians to change their logo.

      To date he has written approximately 2 billion words on the subject but none of them directed to the team ownership itself – instead they float in obscurity. Seems to me that there are two kinds of people – those who complain about the status quo and those who try to change it. Which one does Craig want to be?

  7. tfbuckfutter - Jan 6, 2014 at 1:49 PM

    I’m starting a Kickstarter to buy the Cleveland Indians and change the mascot to this:

    • dluxxx - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:14 PM

      I have no idea who that is, but I’m interested in donating to your kickstarter…

      • miketreedy - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:03 PM

        Really, you have nothing else better to do with your time than this? There are so many real issues in the world from world hunger, cancer, injured returning military veterans to just name a few. But you want to spend time and money on trying to get the Indians logo to be changed. Your funny!

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:04 PM

        It’s just a caricature of an actual Indian…. which is, despite the dot, less offensive than the current mascot.

        Thinking about it though I’m leaning more toward the shaman from Temple of Doom. Picture it: tens of thousands of people holding up bloody novelty hearts and chanting “KA LAY MAAA!”

        How am I not a billionaire yet?

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        I could donate my time and money to preserving proper grammar.

        By which I of course mean “*you’re”.

      • miketreedy - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:11 PM

        Its a blog get offer the grammar crap. You must be a fun guy to hang around.

      • cur68 - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:08 PM

        Irony: A guy making a pretty good joke, with a linked prop and everything, being called “no fun” by a guy who didn’t see the humour. Neat.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:29 PM

        Also, a guy with the handle “buckfutter” being accused of being too uptight.

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:44 PM

        Guys…please stop posting on this thread.

        You’re distracting me from my Bible party.

        Oh no, we’re almost out of Diet Ginger Ale.

  8. Jonestein - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    I usually get irritated with these Wahoo related posts, but you banked so many points with “Is Football Dying?” that I’m probably gonna give you a lifetime pass on all politically-tinted topics from now on.

  9. prospero63 - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:13 PM

    Yeah, Spoaqin Sux is a much, much better logo…

    • The Dangerous Mabry - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:21 PM

      I hate that I saw the same thing. I’m trying to be the bigger man, but yeah. It totally says Spoaqin Sux.

  10. anxovies - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    Not to belabor what has already been discussed to death here and elsewhere, no Native American tribe since the migration from Asia and possibly elsewhere has ever called itself “indians.” For instance, the Navajo call themselves “Dineh,” which means “us” or “the people.” The name “Navajo” means “enemy” or “thieves” or “sharp knives,” depending upon whose version you believe, and was used by the Spanish and other tribes, not the tribe itself. The point is that there is no tribe or pueblo that uses the name “Indian” in reference to itself, that name was applied externally and has nothing to do with the tribe’s culture or self-identity. So much controversy over a made-up name based upon a mistake in geography.

    • drewsylvania - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:34 PM

      Do other native Americans refer to their tribe by “Dineh”?

      • chacochicken - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:55 PM

        Navajo language is Athabaskan which is used by some Canadian and Alaskan groups so they may use a similar or derivative term. The Navajo were late migrants in the SW likely arriving with a century of the Spanish and had a mostly hostile relationship with the Pueblo until the Pueblo Revolt.

      • drewsylvania - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:28 PM

        Interesting. So what nomenclature should non-native Americans use?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:40 PM

        Similarly, “Tlingit” (the name for one of the Indian groups native to Alaska) means human beings.

        Interestingly, the Navajo did not officially adopt that name until the 1960’s. In the 90’s they considered changing it back, but the effort was rejected. Legally, they remain the Navajo Nation (although calling themselves Dineh is still common) — hence their suit against Urban Outfitters not long ago over use of the name.

      • anxovies - Jan 6, 2014 at 8:07 PM

        drewsylvania: I always use “Native American” because I think it is more respectful than “Indian” when I am speaking generally. As far as the name Navajo, it is in general use by native speakers when they are speaking in English, but “Dineh” is usually used when speaking in the language. It’s quite a complicated and flexible language. There are at least several dozen epic poems–a long, narrative poem about a hero–in the language that have been passed down orally for centuries. I think written English and Greek only have two each.

    • chacochicken - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      Jordan still pushed off whether you call him Byron or Bryon.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      Not sure where you’re going with that. It didn’t seem like the Native American group was objecting to the use of “Indian.” Or, are you saying they should call themselves the “Spokane Salish” instead?

      • anxovies - Jan 6, 2014 at 8:23 PM

        Well, since the tribe doesn’t speak Athabaskan I don’t think they are going to call them the “Spokane Dineh.” I was speaking more Craig’s remarks about the Cleveland Indians and Washington Redskins and his previous discussions on the issue. What’s the point of your comment?

      • historiophiliac - Jan 7, 2014 at 9:14 AM

        Me-ow.

    • apmn - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:09 PM

      Many of the official tribal names use the word Indian:

      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_federally_recognized_tribes

      That word is not so much the issue as is the imagery often associated with teams that have that name.

      • anxovies - Jan 6, 2014 at 8:35 PM

        Those names were likely assigned by the feds in the 1930s under the Indian Reorganization Act and by legislation in the 1950s. Many tribes are now reverting to their original names in their language. I doubt that any will include the word “indian.”

    • mikhelb - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:10 PM

      Navaja in spanish means a short, sharp knife. In México some of the indigenous populations call themselves “indians” but as a result more of the common denomination they’ve heard for decades. Those populations are directly related to those in the US like those in the Navojoa region (where Fernando Valenzuela is from), the Seris indians, or the Yaquis in the border state of Sonora, in Baja California the strong populations do not call themselves “indians” per se (Kumiai, Kiliwa, the Cucapahs in the region where Sergio Romo is, Paipai, etcetera).

      • spudchukar - Jan 6, 2014 at 8:29 PM

        The Yaquis, most probably do not belong in the same group. Their language is Uto-Aztecan, and not related to most of the others you mention.

      • anxovies - Jan 6, 2014 at 8:46 PM

        The Spanish called the Indians in Northern Mexico and Southern New Mexico “chichamecas,” which means “dirty dogs.” The are was called the Gran Chichameca. It wasn’t so much a racial thing as much as the Spanish really hated them because of the fierce and brutal way they attacked wagon trains and supply columns along the Camino Real.

  11. bostonboresme - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:15 PM

    Not bad, Mr. Calcaterra. Now gently remove your tampon and try again.

    Or on second thought, don’t.

    • drewsylvania - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:33 PM

      I bet your girlfriend *loves* teh funny you just made.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Oh, so he’s acting like a female by opposing racism? Are you saying men are racist? Why do you hate men?

      • chacochicken - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:07 PM

        Everyone knows menstruation makes women go all civil rights crazy.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:10 PM

        It’s that floating uterus. If only we could tie that sucker down.

  12. yordo - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    I guess some people will do anything to avoid a scalping.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:48 PM

      I guess you think you’re clever, but you are not. That was not funny and it was insulting. In case no one else has told you, you are being part of the problem in this country and we could be much better if you could let your prejudices go. They don’t make us better. They keep us divided and failing at achieving an admirable democracy that the world could admire. Goooood bless Americaaaaaa…land that I loooooove…

    • asimonetti88 - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:49 PM

      Oh my.

  13. briangraydon - Jan 6, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    If the names offend you don’t watch the sport.

    • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      a non racist logo?

      Not on my watch

    • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:02 PM

      Well, now I want to do a kickstarter to buy the Indians from buckfutter so I can rename them the Cleveland Cramps…or Cleveland Hot Flashes — man, I hear those things really suck. *NOBODY* likes them. Greatly feared. I expect you’ll either give up baseball then or wear the t-shirt.

      • dluxxx - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        I kinda like the idea of the “Cleveland Crackers” myself. They can change the logo to a fat, pasty guy with a mullet and a beer sitting on a mobility scooter with spaghetti stains on his sleeveless tee shirt. Make sure you can see his trailer house in the background, and maybe a government check sticking out of his pocket too. Gotta love those racial stereotypes.

      • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:41 PM

        Seriously, my grandpa played for the Atlanta Crackers, and it is disturbing to see pics of him in uniform. I feel a little better knowing about the Black Crackers, but still…the pics in isolation…sheesh!

      • doctorofsmuganomics - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

        I’d wear it

      • tfbuckfutter - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:20 PM

        Cleveland Steamers.

        Everyone is happy.

        And dluxxx, I did find this logo of the mascot for the United States in the next WBC:

  14. bendover09 - Jan 6, 2014 at 4:31 PM

    just give them a holiday and a few more casinos they’ll continue to shut up

  15. bostonboresme - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:26 PM

    Yeah, I have a problem with the Orioles’ cap logo. I hate that smirk the bird gives me, and honestly I find it offensive.

    I call for a change.

    • historiophiliac - Jan 6, 2014 at 5:31 PM

      Thank you very much, Oriole-whisperer.

    • chacochicken - Jan 6, 2014 at 7:59 PM

      Welcome to HBT. I think you are the first member of the species Icterus galbula to post here. Unless you are an actual Baltimore oriole, you are making an absolutely terrible analogy.

  16. bostonboresme - Jan 6, 2014 at 11:18 PM

    ‘sense of humor’ :

    “the ability to perceive humor or appreciate a joke.”

    -Webster

    • andyisme2 - Jan 7, 2014 at 5:18 AM

      unfunny:

      (of something intended to be funny) not amusing

  17. j0esixpack - Jan 7, 2014 at 11:49 PM

    I donno – it could be the flamboyant partial swastika of the Gay Nazis. It does have that flair.

  18. jdillydawg - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    This article is pretty funny. The author is all hot and bothered that teams use disrespectful logos but he doesn’t seem to have a problem if they call themselves Indians as long as the logo looks sharp.

    I can take this in all different directions, but seriously, does using a different logo but keeping the name really make it better?

    As for this logo, it’s clearly racist. We all know Indians are “red,” (thus “Redskins”) and there’s a ton of red in that logo. That’s the most subtley racist logo I think I’ve ever seen, now that I think about it.

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