Native American group plans lawsuit against Indians
A Native American group is planning to file a federal lawsuit against the Cleveland Indians next month for their "offensive" Chief Wahoo logo, CBSSports.com reported Wednesday.
Robert Roche, a Chiricahua Apache and director of the American Indian Education Center, told CBS Cleveland he is planning to file the a federal lawsuit in late July against the Indians organization. Roche, who is also the leader of the group People Not Mascots, said the lawsuit will challenge that the team's name and Chief Wahoo logo are racist.
"We're going to be asking for $9 billion and we're basing it on a hundred years of disparity, racism, exploitation and profiteering," Roche told WEWS-TV. "It's been offensive since day one. We are not mascots. My children are not mascots. We are people."
Native Americans and supporters have protested for many years the use of the Indians team name and the Chief Wahoo logo, which shows an Indian with bright red skin, an exaggerated smile and a feather in his hair.
Chief Wahoo has been the symbol of the Indians since the 1940s. The Indians have been gradually phasing out the Chief Wahoo logo over the last few years, replacing it at times with the red block letter "C" logo.
Local supporters of the Indians team claim it is a small minority of people who are against the team name and logo.
"If just a small amount of people are against it, than I think you're doing a disservice to people that like it," Bob Rosen, president of the Wahoo Club, told WEWS-TV.
"I'm not insensitive to the issue, but our 1,650 members of the Wahoo Club, anytime we have a Wahoo Club item they but it up they love it," Rosen said. "Can you imagine the baseball team in this city not being called the Cleveland Indians? I can't picture that."
The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office stripped the NFL's Washington Redskins of their trademark last week and called the team name a "racial slur." The Redskins are appealing the landmark ruling.