Protesters want name change for Cleveland Indians

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by Jaime Cerreta

Bio | Email | Follow: @CerretaNews

azfamily.com

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Updated Friday, Jun 27 at 12:27 PM

PHOENIX --  More than a dozen protesters showed up at Chase Field ahead of the Diamondbacks' game against the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday.

The group "Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry" is not happy about the team name of the Cleveland Indians and are even more disturbed by the team's mascot Chief Wahoo. "We believe that Native mascots like Chief Wahoo should be eliminated from professional sports, merchandise, arenas," said group spokesperson Nicholet Deschine Parkhurst.

The protesters carried signs saying, "People are not mascots," and "Chief Wahoo promotes racism."

This fight is going on online as well ."We have an online 'twitter-storm' happening as our on-the-ground protest, and we are asking fans and supporters of our efforts to go online and hashtag "dechief wahoo" and spread the awareness that this particular mascot," said Deschine Parkhurst.

Cleveland Indians fans weren't too quick to talk on the subject but we did find one man who's loved his team from the beginning.

"I've been an Indians fan my whole life. I'm going to be 60 years old. I probably started watching the Indians when I was 10 so for 50 years. It's been nothing but the Cleveland Indians with Chief Wahoo and that's how I grew up and that's how I was raised and I would like to see it continue," said Indians fan Jerry Johnson.

He calls the name an honor to Native Americans."I don't feel that they have any real need to do this. To me, it seems like it should be an honor to the Native Americans that the names are being used by the sports teams honoring them," said Johnson.

But protesters see it as quite the opposite of an honor, and won't be happy until the Cleveland Indians team name and mascot is changed.

"Native Americans are real. Native Americans have a voice and we have been stating for more than 50 years that racist imagery and stereotypes of Native Americans do not exist in professional sports and they're racist and we would like to see them gone," said Deschine Parkhurst.

The group will protest again at Wednesday night's Diamondbacks' game against the Indians.

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