Local Cleveland Indians fans say goodbye to Chief Wahoo

Local Cleveland Indians fans say goodbye to Chief Wahoo

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It is one of the most recognizable logos in Major League Baseball; Chief Wahoo.

The logo has been a symbol of the Cleveland Indians for almost three quarters of a century.

"A lot of Americans are fans of the Cleveland Indians, they're just not fans of Chief Wahoo," said one Native American.

After backlash from Native Americans, the Indians organization and MLB leaders decided it was time to say goodbye. Starting during the 2019 season, Wahoo won't be on anything worn by players or seen in Progressive Field.

Many fans even said that they're not surprised.

"For the last couple years, I've stocked up on stuff, and so has my family because we think we knew it was coming," said Mike Kasperczyk, a lifelong Cleveland Indians fan.

But, he still doesn't agree with the change.

"I think it goes back to the original Indian's teams and I think it has certain memories for a lot of people, so I don't think it's offensive," said Kasperczyk.

"I understand everybody is trying to be politically correct, and not offensive towards anybody, but with something like a logo it's been based around the team as long as the team has been around," said Ryan Grince, an Indians fan.

A version of Chief Wahoo has been with the Indians since 1947.

The logo will still exist on some gear, because if the team doesn't use the symbol, it will lose the trademark, and others could profit.

Jamie Oxendine, the director of the Black Swamp InterTribal Foundation in Wood County, leads pow wows in the area. He said it's about time.

"People always felt it was offensive because they said you would not wear a t-shirt or a cap if this related to any other culture. You certainly wouldn't do that. And people think you obviously wouldn't show up in black face, so why do they think it's okay to show up in red face?" said Oxendine.

Oxendine said this centers around a of a lack of awareness about his culture.

"The people that say it's honoring us, aren't Native American," said Oxendine.

Sandy Meier has been a Cleveland Indians fan her whole life, growing up near the area.

"Growing up you never really thought about it until you met somebody that was actually feeling what it was to have something like this happen," said Meier.

After getting to know Oxendine, she said it clicked for her, and thinks, in the end, regardless of what side you're on as a fan, it could be a good thing.

"I know many have said maybe this is what is stopping us from going all the way, and you kind of get your fingers crossed," said Meier.

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