Native American group asks Nike to stop selling Chief Wahoo gear

Subject in the spotlight
TNS Regional News
Apr 29, 2014

A Native American group on Monday called on Nike to stop producing products that feature the Cleveland Indians' mascot Chief Wahoo.

“We ask that Nike live up to its dedication to inclusion,” says a news release issued by the group called “Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry.” The release says the group includes “Native parents and their allies from across the country.”

“Profiting from Native Mascotry is not being diverse; it is not being inclusive,” the news release says. “Selling items, such as a zip-up jacket, that is dually marked with "Chief Wahoo" and the Nike ‘Swoosh’ makes a powerful allied statement about Nike's stance. It strongly suggests that Nike is excluding legitimate Native American concerns about the derogatory and offensive nature of Native stereotyping.”

The news release also notes that Nike sells branded merchandise for the Washington, D.C., football team and Florida State University, both of which use Native imagery.

The news release says the group Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry “will be holding local protests at the Nike World Headquarters this week in Beaverton, Oregon and conducting a social media campaign to trend the #Dechief hashtag begun by Cleveland Indians fan Dennis Brown."

The release was written by Jacqueline Keeler of Portland, who in April wrote an article  in Salon.com, "My life as a Cleveland Indian: The enduring disgrace of racist sports mascots."

Neither Nike nor the Cleveland Indians responded to requests for comment Monday.

Keeler said in a follow-up email Monday morning that the organization has more than 600 members in a Facebook group. She said the group also has received support from the National Congress of American Indians and from Asian American allies at 18 Million Rising and Hyphen magazine.

By Allan Brettman

The Oregonian, Portland, Ore.

(MCT)

©2014 The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.)

Visit The Oregonian (Portland, Ore.) at www.oregonian.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

Donegan

First it was a Indian crying over garbage on the side of the road, Then it was one complaining over land being stolen from them, now this again? I would think they would be more offended that they both Detroit and Pontiac Mich are Indian names and have become post apocalyptic wastelands full of Garbage that they could re-buy for pennies on the dollar.

MiddleRight

Are tall people offended by the SF Giants? Is English Royalty offended by Kansas City? Maybe alchohlics are offended by the Brewers? Will the Nigerian Pirates write a letter to the Pittsburgh Pirates?

TrollingMotors

You are embarrassing yourself

TrollingMotors

I say we re-brand the team as the crackers.

The mascot can be a toothless white guy with a wife beater on and neck tatts. He shows up late and has several substance abuse issues. Behind him is a bunch of coon dogs and a Wal Mart in the background and by his feet are his 8 kids that are dirty eating candy