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The Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates will review the “appropriateness” of its team name. The Indianapolis Indians released a statement Tuesday announcing they will form a committee to review the team name.
In that statement, the team said it was “committed to engage, listen and exchange ideas.”
The full statement read:
“Indianapolis Indians baseball dates back to 1902 and it’s been the organization’s goal to be low-cost family entertainment for all fans in an inclusive environment. We take this mission very seriously. We also feel strongly about the relationship we have with our fans, community and corporate partners. Knowing that the appropriateness of our team name is being questioned, we will be forming a committee to explore it while also gathering community input. As background, the name is derived from our state, Indiana, which means ‘Land of the Indians’ and our city, Indianapolis, which means ‘City of Indians.’
“We are prepared to collaborate with our community and appropriate stakeholders. We understand that our team name has not been endorsed by some but trust they understand the historic and respectful context in which it has been used over the years. We are committed to engage, listen and exchange ideas.”
Native American group deems team name offensive
The team released Tuesday’s statement following news that a Native American group was going to hold meetings to discuss the team name. The American Indian Center of Indiana was expected to discuss the team’s name at a meeting last Thursday, but that meeting was postponed a week.
Carolina Castoreno, executive director of the American Indian Center of Indiana, told the Indianapolis Star that while “Indians” is not a slur, using it as a team name is harmful to Native Americans.
“Some people think that, well, names like Chiefs and Warriors and Indians should be acceptable because they’re not racial slurs,” said Castoreno, an enrolled member of the Lipan Apache Tribe of Texas. “But they don’t understand the harm that comes from having our images kind of reduced to sports and high school mascots.”
Other professional sports teams have reconsidered team names
The Indianapolis Indians’ news comes on the heels of both the Washington Football Team and the Cleveland Indians announcing they would review their team names. After discussing the issue, the Washington Football Team removed its mascot, which was a racial slur, and temporarily changed its name. The Cleveland Indians have not made any definitive changes yet, and are still considering the issue.
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