Chief Wahoo is the logo of the Cleveland Indians baseball team. The illustration is a Native American cartoon caricature. The logo has drawn criticism from some sportswriters, religious groups, and Native Americans, but it remains popular among fans of the Cleveland Indians. The team considered replacing the logo in 1993, but it was ultimately retained.
The Cleveland ball club adopted the name "Indians" in 1915, and depictions of Indians first appeared on team uniforms in 1928. These depictions predated the creation of Chief Wahoo, and were used for a period of only about ten years.
In 1947, Cleveland Indians owner Bill Veeck hired the J.F. Novak Company, designers of the patches worn by Clevelands police and firefighters, to create a new logo for his team. 17-year-old draftsman Walter Goldbach, an employee of the Novak Company, was asked to perform the job. Tasked with creating a mascot that "would convey a spirit of pure joy and unbridled enthusiasm", he created a smiling Indian face with yellow skin and a prominent nose. Sportswriters would eventually take to calling the unnamed character "Chief Wahoo". Goldbach has said that he had difficulty "figuring out how to make an Indian look like a cartoon". He has also said that the logo's moniker is inaccurate. Quoting a child he met while talking at a school, Goldbach said, "He’s not a chief, he’s a brave. He only has one feather. Chiefs have full headdresses.”
In 1951, the mascot was redesigned with a smaller nose and red skin instead of yellow skin. This logo has remained in use ever since, with only minor changes to the design. In the 1950s, the the logo had black outlines and red skin; today the logo has blue lines and red skin. After its introduction, the face of the 1951 logo was incorporated into other, full-body depictions of the character.
Ohio sportswriter Terry Pluto has described comics of Chief Wahoo that would run on the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer in the 1950s, with the character's depiction signifying the outcome of yesterday's game. Wins were illustrated by Chief Wahoo holding a lantern in one hand and extending the index finger on his other. Losses were illustrated by a "battered" Chief Wahoo, complete with black eye, missing teeth, and crumpled feathers.
By 1973, when Cleveland businessman Nick Mileti bought the Indians, the team had introduced additional depictions of Chief Wahoo, some of which showed the character at bat. Mileti hired a designer named Leonard Benner to modify an existing at-bat design for use as a logo. Several changes were made: Wahoo's nose was made smaller, his body thinner, and he was now drawn as a right-handed batter instead of left-handed. Overall, however, the design of Chief Wahoo remained largely similar to the previous version. These modifications, however, heralded other changes to the team's use of Indian-themed imagery, such as the removal of a teepee from the outfield area. The 1973 logo is no longer used by the team.
When the Cleveland Indians installed a new computer-programmed scoreboard in 1977, newspaper articles described how it could display animated depictions of Chief Wahoo yelling "Charge!" At 137-by-54 feet with an 86-by-29-foot lighted screen, the scoreboard was described as the largest "single unit board" in the country. Animation was provided by Hilda Terry, creator of the comic strip Teena. Technical difficulties blamed on weather conditions and pollutants from Lake Erie initially prevented the scoreboard from working properly, but by the 1978 season homeruns were celebrated with fireworks and an animation of Chief Wahoo dancing. The complete package of commissioned animations included an arrow skewering two players to signify a double-play.
During his tenure as Indians President, Peter Bavasi asked players how the team's uniforms should look. . Bavasi has described Joe Carter and Pat Tabler suggesting that Chief Wahoo be added to the hats, with Tabler predicting that it would "sell like crazy". Bavasi recalls expressing concern that it would offend Native American groups, but that player Bert Blyleven reassured him, "Nah, it shouldn't. Really looks like [manager] Phil Seghi." Blyleven made a similar remark to Sports Illustrated, and the magazine described the resemblance as "uncanny". Tabler's prediction was ultimately borne out, with hat sales increasing significantly after the reintroduction of Chief Wahoo.
Around the time Bavasi added Chief Wahoo to the Indians hats in 1986, he also banned "derogatory" banners at the stadium. The elimination of references to Cleveland on the uniforms, including replacing the old style hats with Chief Wahoo, led to speculation that the team might be moved to another city.
From 1962 through 1994, a 28-foot-tall, neon-lit sign of Chief Wahoo at bat stood above Gate D of Cleveland Municipal Stadium. When the stadium was demolished, the neon sign was donated to the Western Reserve Historical Society. Working with the original blueprints, and the help of $50,000 in donations, the historical society refurbished the sign and it is displayed today in the group's museum. Anonymous donors have since provided funds to support maintenance work that allows the sign to remain lit.
There are reports that the team considered dropping the logo around this time, but it was ultimately retained. Several years later, the Associated Press reported that the Chief Wahoo debate had not hurt the team's souvenir sales, which at the team were better than those of any other team in the league.
On the 100th anniversary of the Cleveland Indians, the team gave away blankets that depicted the various incarnations of Chief Wahoo. Several years later, the team partnered with a candy maker to produce a Chief Wahoo chocolate bar. The name "Wahoo Women" has been used for a ladies night out promotion, and in 2013 the team is running a "Wahoo Wednesdays" promotion with Domino's Pizza.
For many years, the USS Cleveland flew a battle flag featuring the Chief Wahoo logo. The time and circumstances under which the flag were first flown are not known, but the flag was retired in 2006 and presented to former Indians pitcher and World War II US Navy veteran Bob Feller. The flag had previously flown over center field at Cleveland Stadium.
In 2009, the Cleveland Indians moved their spring training operations from Winter Haven, Florida to Goodyear, Arizona. During the years the Indians trained in Florida, Chief Wahoo was displayed on a municipal water tower there. The Chief Wahoo mural had been touched up at least once in 1993, but because of the team's impending move the town did not bother to repaint the logo when it eventually faded. Due of the expense of repainting the water tower, the logo remained there for several years after the Indians last trained in Florida. It was not until 2012 that Chief Wahoo was finally replaced with a logo for Polk State College.
Chief Wahoo creator Walter Goldbach and his wife spent 15 winters living in Winter Haven, Florida. During the spring training season, he would work with the team when they conducted tours. Goldbach is now retired from his career as an artist, and medical issues prevent him from drawing today. In spite of his contribution to the team, he must pay for his own tickets to Indians games.
In 2007 a sportswriter for the New York Times suggested that the Cleveland Indians were phasing out the use of Chief Wahoo in their home stadium. Changes to the batting helmets in 2013 led to renewed speculation of a phase-out. However, Indians president Mark Shapiro and other team spokespeople have said there are no such plans.
Depiction on Cleveland uniforms
Although the club had adopted the name "Indians" starting with the 1915 season, there was no acknowledgment of this nickname on their uniforms until 1928. In the years between the team's 1901 formation and the 1927 season, uniforms contained variations on a stylized "C" or the word "Cleveland" (excepting the 1921 season, when the front of the club's uniform shirts read "Worlds [sic] Champions"). According to baseball historians, the 1928 season saw modified club uniforms whose left breast bore a patch depicting the profile of a headdress-wearing American Indian. In 1929, a smaller version of that same patch migrated to the home uniform sleeve, where similar incarnations of the early design remained through 1938. For 1939 the club wore the Baseball Centennial patch on the sleeve. Various other patches were worn for the next few years, none of them featuring Indians. In 1946, both the home and road shirts featured a City of Cleveland Sesquicentennial patch.
In 1947, home and road uniforms began featuring the first incarnation of Chief Wahoo. The new Chief Wahoo logo, a caricature drawn from a three-quarter perspective, supplanted the earlier profile drawings. A redesigned Chief Wahoo caricature appeared on the uniform shirt sleeve starting in 1951. Uniform designs have varied in the years since, but the 1951 Chief Wahoo design has been used in most years since then. Exceptions include the 1972 uniform, which featured no Chief Wahoo logo, and the 1973 through 1978 uniforms, which featured a modified logo in which Chief Wahoo is depicted at bat. Chief Wahoo was featured on Cleveland hats from 1951 through 1958, and returned to Cleveland's hats in 1986. The 1986 change followed an increase in the size of the logo on uniforms sleeves in 1983.
As of 2013, Chief Wahoo was featured on every variation of the team's uniforms.
In addition to the Chief Wahoo design, which remains the team's main logo, the Indians also have and use alternative logos: A block-letter "C", a script-letter "I", and the word "Indians" written in script. Cleveland Indians spokesman Bob DiBiasio has described the block-C logo as alternative to Chief Wahoo: "We have added a logo, the block C, recently in addition to the Wahoo logo and the script 'Indians'. Fans of the team have alternative ways to express their support." In 2002, DiBiasio described an Indians hat with the letter "I" in similar terms, as official merchandise that provides an alternative without Chief Wahoo.Owner Larry Dolan has said the alternative logos are "another marketing tool" and "it's not true" that they are a means of phasing out Chief Wahoo. The Encyclopedia of Sports Management and Marketing has described the new hats and team mascot Slider as "an effort to distance the franchise from the controversy".
The use of these alternative logos has at times proved newsworthy. In 1994, when President Bill Clinton threw the first pitch at Jacob's Field, he wore a hat with the letter-C logo instead of Chief Wahoo. A White House aide described the decision in as one taken "in recognition of the sensitivities" involved, and it spurred public debate on the issue of Native American names and images in sports. Critics accused Clinton of "an apparent attempt to appease his 'politically correct' constituency".
When Cleveland played Baltimore in the 2007 "Civil Rights Game" in Memphis, logos were removed from uniforms for both teams during that games. This caused some sportswriters to assert that the office of the Major League Baseball commissioner understood, "on some level, that Chief Wahoo is the wrong message".
Use during spring training
In 2009, when the Cleveland Indians moved their spring training operations to Goodyear, Arizona, the Chief Wahoo logo was not used on the outside of the local stadium where they practiced. The Chief Wahoo logo had been prominently displayed at the team's previous spring training facilities in Winter Haven, Florida. Explaining that Wahoo's absence from the city-owned Goodyear Ballpark had not been the team's decision, then-Indians-president Mark Dolan said, "It's not our ballpark. I would expect some sensitivity was involved, but ultimately it's the city's ballpark." A city spokesperson said that they were following Cleveland's marketing lead after the team used the script "I" logo on the player development complex in addition to the ballpark. Dolan said there was also "some sensitivity involved" with player development complex. The logo is also absent from team property and employee clothing in Arizona.
Cleveland sportswriter Paul Hoynes has written that the Chief Wahoo logo was not used in Goodyear "because of the heavy population of Native Americans in Arizona." According to the 2010 census, the Arizona population is 4.6% Native American or Alaska Native, compared to 0.4% in Florida and 0.2% in Ohio. Sportswriter Craig Calcaterra has described the issue more bluntly, saying that "in the southwest there is a much larger Indian population than there is back in Ohio and that not putting up a big racist, comically-exaggerated red-faced logo of an Indian is simply a matter of common courtesy." Chief Wahoo is still used on the Cleveland Indians' spring training web page, where the logo is framed within the name of their host city.
"Stars and stripes" logo variant
In 2008, Major League Baseball introduced special caps with each team's cap logo woven into the "Stars and Stripes" that were worn during major American holidays. The Indians cap with Chief Wahoo emblazoned in stars and stripes was criticized by some sportswriters. In 2009 MLB redesigned the Indians "Stars and Stripes" cap with a "C" logo replacing Chief Wahoo.
Similar events played out several years later. In 2013, manufacturer New Era Cap Company released an image of a hat featuring a flag-themed Chief Wahoo to be worn by the team on the Fourth of July. According to a source at Major League Baseball, the image was mistakenly released because of a misunderstanding that all teams would be using their main logo. After news reports criticized the "short-sightedness of covering a Native American logo with stars and stripes", New Era removed the Chief Wahoo design and released an image of a flag-themed block-C logo hat that would be worn instead. Some sportswriters have speculated that the Chief Wahoo design may actually have been intended for use. The Cleveland Scene called it "the most offensive Cleveland Indians hat ever".
The use of Chief Wahoo has been criticized by Native American activists and some contemporary sportswriters. Chief Wahoo is a centerpiece of a Ferris-State-University-maintained traveling exhibit on racist Native American imagery, and a 2012 article in The Cleveland Scene described him as "the only professional sports logo in the Western world that caricaturizes a race of people". The Cleveland Indians' Vice President of Public Relations has defended the use of Chief Wahoo, while framing the team's decision to no longer "animate or humanize the logo" in terms of their "acknowledgement to the sensitivities involved". The head of the Cleveland American Indian Movement (AIM) has described the use of the mascot as "exploitative, bigoted, racist, and shameful." The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, without specifically mentioning Chief Wahoo, has opposed the use of Native American mascots by non-native teams. The NAACP has also opposed the use of Native American symbols by sports teams. Artist David Jakupca of the International Center for Environmental Arts (ICEA) is credited with designing the current Anti-Wahoo Logo in 1992. It gained international popular attention when it was it exhibited by ICEA at the 1993 UN World Conference on Human Rights held in Vienna, Austria. 
According to a senior vice president and historian at the Western Reserve Historical Society, the acquisition of a 28-foot-tall neon Chief Wahoo sign was debated for several reasons. Among them was the belief that it was "hugely negative for a portion of the population". Ultimately, the historical society decided that "history is history. This sign is a point in a major American issue, which is racial caricature. Some people have a problem with it, some people don’t. It’s important because it not only represents the rich history of baseball in Cleveland, it gets into a really deep issue in American history.” The sign is displayed with written materials that show several points of view; these include "The Legacy of Racism Continues", "Chief Wahoo: Brief History of a Civic Icon", and "Enthusiasm! That's Chief Wahoo!"
In a 1997 incident, the Seattle Times digitally erased Chief Wahoo from a photos of Cleveland players, prompting executive editor Michael Fancher to apologize, "We took racial sensitivity a step too far." Fancher explained that the Times' policy is to "respect Native-American complaints that the nicknames and mascots of some sports teams are offensive", and to "avoid discretionary uses of the mascot images". General news editor Mike Stanton said that sensitivity must be addressed through inclusion or exclusion of option images, but that "We can't change the objective reality." Fancher said that the appropriate solution would have been to choose an alternate image.
The Native American Journalist Association has formally called on newspapers to stop broadcasting Indian mascot names and images. As of 2009 only five newspapers had committed to doing so, but others, including the Journal Star of Lincoln, Nebraska, had chosen to do away with "particularly offensive" examples such as Chief Wahoo.
In 2006, a Cleveland-area Girl Scout troop offered its members the ability to earn a "cultural sensitivity" patch by watching the Cleveland-AIM-produced documentary WaWHO? Nothing is Sacred. The patch was created by the same company that designed and manufactured the original Chief Wahoo emblem in 1947.
Legislative and legal challenges
There have been multiple failed legal and legislative attempts to end the use of Chief Wahoo. In 1972, Indian activist Russell Means announced a $9 million suit by the Cleveland American Indian Center against the team for libel, slander, and defamation from the use of Chief Wahoo. Writer Don Oakley criticized both the dollar amount and the grounds for the suit in an editorial article, saying,
"$9-million is 'umpteen' dollars in anybody's vocabulary, including that of the original Chief Wahoo, the comic strip character who coined the word. But the suit is real enough, and it reads like something that might have been brought against a defendant at the Nuremburg trials ... Such a heavy burden for such a little guy to carry. The 'racism' behind Chief Wahoo will be news to the millions of people who have followed the baseball Indians over the years, and who no more associated their symbol with real Indians than they believe that Englishmen are short, pot-bellied, run around in knee breeches and wear a Union Jack for a vest."
Russell Means described receiving hate mail for the only time in his career after a TV appearance on the subject, and the legal process lasted over a decade. In 1982, both sides announced that they were near an agreement; one method of settlement being considered was an annual "Indian Day" at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. A lawyer for the defense said that an out-of-court settlement was preferred, but that he doubted a financial agreement would be part of it. The suit was finally settled in 1983.
In 1993, an Ohio state lawmaker promised to introduce legislation that would have blocked the use of public funds for a new stadium if the Indians did not change their logo. A similar measure had been introduced in 1992, but it failed to pass by six votes. Former Cleveland Mayor Michael R. White once condemned the logo as a racist caricature and proposed stripping it from all city-owned property, but the suggestion went nowhere.
A 1998 article in the Cleveland State Law Review outlined several possible legal challenges to the use and validity of the Chief Wahoo trademark. Among the possible arguments was the notion that the Indians' actions in Jacobs Field (since renamed "Progressive Field") were a state action according to the symbiotic relationship test established in Burton v. Wilmington Parking Authority. If there was also an implicit discriminatory intent in the design of the logo, then its use would be a violation of the Fourteenth Amendment. The author indicated that this approach would face significant legal hurdles. An alternative and perhaps more successful approach would be to challenge the validity of the trademark, because trademark law bars the registration of disparaging or scandalous marks. A 1999 article in the Harvard Law Review also outlined an equal protection (Fourteenth Amendment) strategy for suits against teams that use native American names and symbols.
Newspapers record protests against Chief Wahoo as early as 1971, and news accounts describe annual Opening Day protests every year since 1973. The size of the protests grew in the 1990s. In 1991, a group called the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance was formed to protest quincentennial Columbus Day celebrations. The next year, the group shifted its efforts, and since then has focused on protesting the Indians' team name and logo. In its early years, the group drew national media attention as it negotiated with team management over whether Chief Wahoo would continue to be used once the Indians moved to their new stadium. Around this time, a group called Save Our Chief collected 10,000 signatures on a petition calling for the team to keep the logo, and Chief Wahoo ultimately remained in use. Team owner Richard Jacobs cited the petition drive, and in an allusion to popular support announced that "Baseball belongs to the fans, and if they want us to keep it as our logo, we will." When the team moved to its new ballpark, the stadium manager, Gateway Economic Development Corporation, attempted to prohibit demonstrations there, and protesters sued for access.
The logo drew renewed scrutiny during the 1995 World Series, when the Cleveland Indians played the Atlanta Braves. The games were marked by protests in both cities. During game three of the series, researcher Ellen Staurowsky recorded 650 verbal mentions or visual appearances of Cleveland-team-related Native American images.
The 1997 All-Star game was also home to protests; these were attended by a descendant of Louis Sockalexis, the Native American player in whose honor the Cleveland team is supposedly named. The Cleveland Indians played again in the World Series that year; before the series began ABC News covered the Chief Wahoo protests and named Native American activist and artist Charlene Teters their person of the week. At the turn of the 21st century, newspapers described the recurring protests as "an Opening Day tradition".
Newspapers and other publications have described a tense atmosphere surrounding these protests, some of which resulted in legal actions (see below). Reporters have described antagonistic behavior from game attendees (e.g, shouting "You killed Custer!", or directing war whoops at protesters), and characterized fans as "ambivalent and sometimes belligerent". According to researchers, "it is the protestors whose phenotypic traits correspond with stereotypical representations of Indians that receive the most negative attention ... [the] most vocal fans make darker-skinned protestors the targets of their most disparaging remarks". Physical confrontations have included fans throwing beer on protestors, and participants have described derogatory remarks:
"Each year for the past six or seven years I have joined our native American brothers and sisters and others from the Cleveland area in protesting the use of the racist symbol of Chief Wahoo. Each year we stand outside the stadium, and hear people yell at us to 'go back home.' The irony of telling a native American to go back home is never understood by them it seems."
Protests are still a regular feature, but are smaller than they were in the 1990s. Today, the Committee of 500 Years of Dignity and Resistance has 8 to 12 core members and a total membership of approximately 150 people. Researchers have suggested that Cleveland's low Native American population and its transient status, traveling to and from reservations, have contributed to recruiting difficulties. American Indian Movement chapters elsewhere in the country have sometimes held protests at Cleveland's away games.
Condemnation by religious groups
Various religious groups have condemned the use of Chief Wahoo. In 1991, the United Church of Christ passed a resolution condemning the use of Chief Wahoo, saying that "the use and misuse of Native American imagery affronts basic human rights and dignity and has a negative impact on human self worth". The Native American head of the group's Indian council criticized the logo, saying, "The image that it depicts looks kind of sub-human. It doesn't look like someone I would consider to be Indian." In an article on the resolution, the team spokesman defended the use of the logo, describing the team's relationship with the local Native American community as "very positive".
Two years later, the Catholic Church's Diocese of Cleveland denounced the use of the logo in a statement by their Commission on Catholic Community Action to Promote Justice. The statement cited a 1988 Vatican document saying that acts "which lead to contempt and to the phenomena of exclusion must be denounced and brought to light without hesitation and strongly rejected in order to promote equitable behavior."
In 1997 the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, calling the use of Chief Wahoo "insulting and racially insensitive marketing," succeeded in pressuring various companies to stop using the logo. As a result of their efforts, Anheuser-Busch stopped using Chief Wahoo in their Ohio beer ads, and Denny's Restaurants barred its Ohio employees from wearing the logo to work.
The United Methodist Church denounced the use of Chief Wahoo in a vote taken during their quadrennial General Conference that took place in Cleveland in 2000. The measure passed without debate by a vote of 610-293, and was similar to previous resolutions that did not specifically mention Chief Wahoo. The East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church had previously considered the issue of Chief Wahoo in 1998. Delegates at the conference's annual meeting defeated by a two-thirds majority a resolution condemning its use. The resolution urged church members to stop wearing hats or clothing displaying the logo, causing one delegate to say, "I would cease being a United Methodist before I would cease wearing my Chief Wahoo clothing."
The United Church of Christ reaffirmed their position in 2000, when Bernice Powell Jackson, the executive director of the UCC Commission for Racial Justice and executive minister of one of the UCC's five covenanted ministries, called for the logo to be discontinued. She wrote:
"Chief Wahoo is a racist stereotype and logo. The bug-eyed, buck-toothed, grinning red figure honors no one. It destroys the self-esteem of native American children and it mis-educates other children. It teaches them that indigenous people are sports team mascots, not human beings created in the image of God. The definition of racism most often used is prejudice plus power. All of us have learned prejudices about other groups of people, but when we have the power to live out those prejudices, then it is racism. Chief Wahoo is a racist symbol because those in power — in this case, the sports industry and the mainstream media — refuse to hear the voice of the oppressed."
At their 2001 general assembly in Cleveland, the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations passed a resolution urging "the Planning Committee and the Board of Trustees to consult and cooperate" with the UCC's struggle against the use of the Chief Wahoo. The secretary of the association, Wayne Arnason, described the church's call to witness against the use of mascots and logos like Chief Wahoo: "This witness is one your Board of Trustees endorsed as consistent and compelling in our effort to create an anti-racist Association ... This is about the owners of professional sports teams, the media that covers them, the fans that turn a blind eye—and also the political leaders who do not act." After the opening ceremony of the 2001 Unitarian general assembly, more than three-quarters of the attendees participated in a vigil against the use of the logo, with hundreds of Unitarian Universalists marching in solidarity with Native Americans through the rain from the convention center to Jacobs Field.
Logo use by elementary and high schools
According to a 1996 New York Times article describing a Connecticut high school's decision to do away with the logo, Chief Wahoo has been "adopted by many high school teams." The Connecticut decision prompted student walk-outs and sit-ins. One student, describing his uncertain stance on the issue and desire to have seen a compromise instead, said that Indians were "brave, good-hearted and not corrupt like the Europeans," that "They were the best race of people that ever were," and it gave him pride "to pretend to be one of them."
In 2003, an elementary school district in Channahon, Illinois stopped using Chief Wahoo as the logo for their athletic teams. Explaining the change, a school principle in the district said, "The Cleveland Indian character is not the least bit flattering to Native Americans. As we educate our children, we teach them there is a proud and strong heritage relative to Native Americans, and we should respect that. This is a change we should make."
When a high school in upstate New York retired the team name "Redskins", an Oneida Indian Nation representative praised the decision and criticized the Cleveland Indians logo, saying that "high school students are showing more wisdom than these wealthy major league owners".
American Leagues billboard
In 1996, the Cleveland Institute of Art opened an exhibit featuring the work of Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds, a half-Arapaho, half-Cheyenne associate professor of art at the University of Oklahoma. Among the pieces he designed for the exhibition was a 25-by-12 foot billboard featuring an image of Chief Wahoo and the text "Smile for Racism". Amidst controversy, the school initially announced that the piece would not be funded or shown. Heap of Birds announced his intent not to attend the opening, and alleged that the school was afraid of losing donations from Indians owner Richard Jacobs. The Indians' spokesman had no comment on the matter, while the chairman of the institute's board explained that he was offended by the piece and said, "I don't think that's art."
Eventually, the school reversed its position after determining that it was contractually obligated to fund the work. Heap of Birds decided to attend the opening, and the piece was eventually shown. He produced at least two different variations on the work, referred to in a journal as American Leagues 1 and American Leagues 2, both of which used the same design. The billboard itself was installed in 1998 near the approach to Jacobs Field. Heap of Birds later wrote of his artwork:
"Today, Indian people must still struggle in order to survive in America. We must battle against forces that have dealt us among the lowest educational opportunities, lowest income levels, lowest standards of health, lowest housing conditions, lowest political representation and highest mortality rates in America. Even as these grave hardships exist for the living Indian people, a mockery is made of us by reducing our tribal names and images to the level of insulting sports team mascots, brand name automobiles, camping equipment, city and state names, and various other commercial products produced by the dominate culture. This strange and insensitive custom is particularly insulting when one considers the great lack of attention that is given to real Indian concerns. It must be understood that no human being should be identified as subservient to another culture. To be overpowered and manipulated in such a way as to thought to become [sic] a team mascot is totally unthinkable."
Statements by professional athletes and administrators
Chief Wahoo has been criticized by former Cleveland Indian Larry Doby, the first black player in the American League. Explaining his desire to see the team do away with the logo, he said, "It reminds me of blackface minstrel shows." Former Cleveland pitcher Charles Nagy, talking about the Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves logos during the 1995 World Series, has said, "I understand what the big fuss is and everything like that," but to him "it's just a team logo". When the Cleveland Indians were considering drafting Navajo player Jacoby Ellsbury in 2007, a member of the organization asked him whether he would be bothered by the logo. Ellsbury told a reporter, "They asked me if I would be offended or anything like that if they had taken me. I said it was fine, but I thought that was nice on their part ... I'm not offended. You can look at it two different ways. You can look at it that it's offensive or you can look at it that they are representing Native Americans. Usually I'll try to take the positive out of it."
"It is absolutely racist. Does Jacoby Ellsbury look like that? He's a Native American. That's the problem with the issue and with those kinds of caricatures. They are not in any way representative of that culture and the people and they send a message that is disrespectful and stereotypical of a race of people that deserve better. I think it says something that they felt a need to ask him about it."
Statements by Cleveland management and partners
Team spokesman Bob DiBiasio has defended the use of Chief Wahoo, saying that while the logo is a caricature, it is "not meant to represent anyone or any group." He has also stated that Chief Wahoo is not meant to be racist, and asked "if there is no intent to demean, how can something demean?" DiBiasio has expanded on these statements elsewhere. In another interview, he said:
"We believe this is an issue of perception. We think people look at the logo and they think about baseball — they think about C.C. Sabathia, Bob Feller, Larry Doby, and Omar Vizquel. The Wall Street Journal did an editorial about the Jeep Cherokee and concluded that something cannot be demeaned if there is no intent to demean. We still believe the vast majority of our fans like Chief Wahoo."
When owner Larry Dolan bought the team in 2000, he said, "I have no problem with Chief Wahoo. I don't think there is any disrespect meant. If I did, I would consider a change." In a 2006 interview, team owner Larry Dolan defended the use of Chief Wahoo after describing a meeting with student demonstrators at Oberlin College:
"I agreed to meet with them, they gave me their ills, and some of their personal backgrounds. I ask them, 'What you tell me is sad, and is worthy of response, but can you give me any antidotial [sic] evidence that these things that you speak of actually have occurred? And where and by whom?' They have no such evidence. And they never were able to supply any, and never has any of the other groups that have protested. My personal feeling is, I don't wear their shoes, I understand that, but the dour Indian is not in the, is not the best traditional Indian. The smiling Wahoo is probably a little bit over-the-top, but it's better than the other, and it's a beloved figure around the country."
The Oberlin student newspaper recorded the interview and quoted Dolan as saying, "I firmly reject that Wahoo is racist. I see that it makes some Natives uncomfortable — clearly not all. I think I understand racism when I see it." The paper reported that Dolan claimed his incentive to action was weakened by the fact that Native Americans do not universally find the logo offensive. Larry Dolan's son, Paul Dolan, was at the meeting, and was quoted as saying, "Whether or not [Chief Wahoo] is offensive is not really a debate. Whether it's racist is really the crux of the issue." Paul Dolan was at the time vice president and general counsel to the Indians, and after a tenure as franchise president would go on to become the team's CEO and controlling owner.
Statements from other members of Cleveland management have ranged from noncommittal to very supportive. Former owner Richard Jacobs vowed not to drop the logo as long as he owned the team. Kurt Schloss, former director of merchandising and now vice president of concessions, has defended the use of the logo as part of the team's identity: "Chief Wahoo is a piece of who we are ... It's not about representing a person or a group, it's about our history." In 2007, while working as general manager of the team, Mark Shapiro stated, "It's not an area I have control over or choose to focus." In 2013, after becoming president of the Indians, Shapiro was asked by an interviewer about "the official position of the club on the, on the whole, you know, Chief Wahoo thing". He explained:
"I think you always want to be sensitive to anybody that finds it offensive, that, you know ultimately the Indians name and the team, ah, is in recognition of our pride and affiliation with the first Native American baseball player. So I think what we choose to do is celebrate, you know, Louis Sockalexis and and his history and tradition with the Indians and, and not to focus on uh anything that we would view, that, you know, anything that we don’t view and certainly don’t want to put, uh, be offensive to anyone."
DiBiasio has described conversations about Chief Wahoo with the Cleveland American Indian Movement and others as "an exchange of ideas, concepts, philosophies". The Cleveland American Indian Movement also sought comment from Progressive Insurance, owners of the naming rights to the Cleveland stadium. The group's request had gone unanswered for several months as of May 2013, when a Progressive spokesperson claimed to have no knowledge of their letter.
Statements by others
During the 2007 post-season, the Christian Science Monitor ran an editorial deploring the logo's continued use. In a 2011 statement before the Senate, Morning Star Institute president Suzan Shown Harjo cited Chief Wahoo as an example of the "savage savage" stereotype of Native Americans (as opposed to the "noble savage"), describing the logo as one of several prominent "hideous, inhuman, insulting or just plain dumb-looking" depictions. In a guidebook on evaluating American Indian resources for classroom use, the Montana Office of Public Instruction has described Chief Wahoo as an example of a disrespectful image of Native Americans. A report on the use of Native American mascots by the Oregon Superintendent of Public Instruction described Chief Wahoo as an example of a stereotypical Native American image.
Various sportswriters have gone on record supporting or opposing the Chief Wahoo. Among those who have supported the use of the logo are Phil Rogers, who applauded team owner Richard Jacobs "for risking political incorrectness by letting Chief Wahoo live". The logo has been opposed by Ohio sportswriter Terry Pluto, who wrote, "I love Chief Wahoo. But I also know it's time for Chief Wahoo to go." Cleveland-born sports columnist Joe Posnanski has written, "Wahoo is an inherentry racist symbol. Nobody could really deny this. Nobody could look at that grinning mug and say, 'No, it’s really a flattering portrayal of Native Americans, who were conquered, nearly wiped off the planet by our ancestors and then forced to live on reservations.'”
In the book Baseball: An Encyclopedia of Popular Culture, author Edward J. Rielly writes that "Chief Wahoo does no credit to anyone, much less to team management and fans who persist in failing to understand the demeaning nature of the characterization".
Charlene Teters, a Native American artist and activist, was interviewed for a 1997 story on Chief Wahoo and remarked, "We are the only group of people still used as mascots. You wouldn't have someone painted in blackface run on the field." Eleanor Rusnak, owner of the J.F. Novak company, which designed and manufactured the original Chief Wahoo emblem in 1947, has spoken out against the logo: "People felt differently back then, and we didn’t know how American Indians felt about the emblem. But it’s become a whole different world, and I’m just glad I’ve gotten to live long enough to be a part of it.”
Explaining their decision to no longer print the logo, the Journal Star newspaper in Lincoln, Nebraska called it "an example of rank caricature". The move was criticized in a book about "hard-charging leadership in politically correct times", which described the Journal Star's decision in a section titled "Into the PC Cesspool".
Ohio-born comedian Drew Carey, a libertarian and a critic of political correctness, has commented on Chief Wahoo multiple times. In one interview he said, "I used to wear a Wahoo hat all the time. But if it hurts so many people, they probably ought to get rid of it." In an interview with sportswriter Tom Hoffarth, Carey said, "I don't really mind it. Although my ancestors were from Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. So… Fighting Irish anyone?" Native American activist and writer Suzan Shown Harjo has criticized Carey, saying that his "punch lines portray actual Indian people as a notch below fictional 'Indian' logos and as dumb, easily duped and deservedly caricatured."
While working with New Era Caps, rapper Kid Cudi wrote about his desire to "revamp" the Cleveland logo and create "something that doesn't offend Native Americans". It was not clear whether the revamped logo would appear on a hat. In his autobiography, screenwriter Joe Eszterhas wrote that a Wahoo-decorated pennant commemorating Cleveland's 1954 American League championship was a "prized possession" from his childhood.
There is little available polling data specifically with respect to Chief Wahoo. A non-scientific online poll from 1997 found that 42% of respondents favored doing away with Chief Wahoo, and 58% favored retaining the logo. The comments and opinions of poll respondents formed the basis of a university professor's essay on Native American mascots. The essay concluded that supporters and opponents occupy "mutually exclusive communicative communities" advancing competing visions of race. The team has alluded to popular support as a reason for choosing to retain the logo, but as of 2002 had conducted no polling research to see how many fans would welcome a change. As of 2007, the Annenberg Public Policy Center, a communication policy center that has studied similar issues, had also not conducted polling about Chief Wahoo.
Surveys from a 2012 dissertation on Native American identity in northeast Ohio identified several different American Indian viewpoints about Chief Wahoo. The majority of participants thought that the logo was harmful. However, there was disagreement among this group over whether the elimination of the logo should be a priority in light of the other issues facing Native Americans. Those who felt most strongly negative about the use of the logo tended to have lived in both cities and reservations. Participants were drawn from two groups, Native People Reclaiming Indian Identities (NatPride) and Relocated Indians of Ohio (RelOH). A 1995 survey asked college students whether the logo should be retained and whether its use was discriminatory. Indian and black students were most likely to believe that the logo was discriminatory and should not be retained.
After visting reservations across the West, sportswriter Terry Pluto wrote that "overwhelming majority" of residents objected to the logo: "I've talked to people who live there. It comes down to this: Most don't like it. I didn't say all. I've even seen a few wearing Chief Whaoo caps. But the overwhelming majority object." Comedian Drew Carey has remarked, "I work a lot of Indian casinos. They have no problem with [the team name] Indians. They have a problem with Chief Wahoo." Conversely, team owner Larry Dolan has said that Indian groups he has met at casinos do not have a problem with the logo.
More broadly, polling results published in Sports Illustrated reported that "neither Native Americans in general nor a cross section of U.S. sports fans" found Indian-related team names and mascots offensive. The poll did not specifically investigate opinions about Chief Wahoo. Researchers and Native American activists have criticized the results on the basis of Sports Illustrated's refusal to provide polling information. Among the questions raised are how "Indians" were found and contacted, if they were concentrated in urban areas or on reservations, if a small number of tribes were overrepresented, and the exact wording and order of the questions. A 2004 Annenberg survey reported similar results; in that poll 91% of self-identified American Indians were not offended or bothered by the name of the Washington Redskins. Unlike the Sports Illustrated poll, the Annenberg report described the survey methodology and wording of the question.
A possible flaw in random and anonymous polls of Native American opinion is that surveys must rely upon self-identification to select the target group. In an editorial in the Bloomington Herald Times, Steve Russell, a Cherokee citizen and associate professor of criminal justice at Indiana University, states that both Sports Illustrated and Annenberg's samples of "self-identified Native Americans... includes plenty of people who have nothing to do with Indians". The problem of individuals claiming to be Native American when they are not is well-known in academic research, and is a particular problem when non-natives claim Indian identity specifically to gain authority in the debate over sports mascots.
Researchers have studied the effects of exposure to Chief Wahoo and other depictions of Native Americans. One study of American Indian high school students found that, although exposure to Chief Wahoo generated positive associations, students also reported depressed self-esteem and community worth. Follow-up research on American Indian college students found that exposure to Chief Wahoo resulted in depressed predictions of future achievement. The researchers concluded:
Although these studies cannot address the process by which these undermining effects occur, the studies do suggest that the effects are not due to negative associations with mascots. We suggest that the negative effects of exposure to these images may, in part, be due to the relative absence of more contemporary positive images of American Indians in American society ... The only way to reduce the negative impact of these constraining American Indian mascot representations is to either eliminate them or to create, distribute, and institutionalize a broader array of social representations of American Indians. The latter option would communicate to both natives and nonnatives that, beyond the historically constituted roles as Indian princesses and warrior chiefs, there exist other viable and desirable ways to be American Indian in contemporary mainstream society.
This research has been presented to the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs within the context of other studies showing similar results. Subsequent research has found that exposure to the Chief Wahoo image "activated negative, but not positive, American Indian stereotypes", and that the predominately European-American study participants' "motivation to control prejudice, prejudice level, and experience did not predict negative stereotype activation".
Historical research into the veracity of popular stories regarding the origins of the Indians' team name and logo has been cited in an American Psychological Association resolution recommending the retirement of Native American mascots, symbols, and images by sports teams.
When the Cleveland Indians played in the 1997 World Series, protesters demonstrated against the team's use of the Chief Wahoo mascot. When American Indian activist Vernon Bellecourt burned an effigy of Chief Wahoo, police arrested him and ordered others to leave. Later, the police arrested two other protesters who had moved to another part of the stadium. Officials claimed all three had actively resisted arrest. Bellecourt was charged with criminal endangerment and resisting arrest, while the other two were charged with criminal trespass and aggravated disorderly conduct. Charges against the defendants were later dismissed.
Protests against the use of the Chief Wahoo character greeted the opening of Jacobs Field in 1998. Cleveland police arrested three protesters for burning an effigy of Chief Wahoo, and shortly thereafter arrested two more protesters for burning an effigy of Little Black Sambo. They were booked and jailed for aggravated arson. However, no formal charges were filed after the booking, and the protesters were released the next day. The protesters, led by Bellecourt, later sued the city for violating their free speech rights.
In 2004, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in a 5-2 decision that the arrest did not violate the protesters' First Amendment rights. Justice Maureen O'Connor wrote in the majority opinion that "without question, the effigy burnings were constitutionally protected speech," but, citing the 1968 U.S. Supreme Court decision in United States v. O'Brien, O'Connor also wrote that “the windy conditions coupled with the spraying of additional accelerant on the already burning effigies created a hazard" and that "the police were obligated to protect the public, including the protesters themselves.”
Protests against the use of the Chief Wahoo mascot have continued since the 1990s. In 2004, ruling on a lawsuit brought by protesters who wished to demonstrate against Chief Wahoo's use, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the sidewalks near Jacobs Field were a public forum and the owner could not place content-sensitive restrictions on its use.
- Native American mascot controversy
- Chief Noc-A-Homa
- Tom E. Hawk (similar mascot of affiliated Kinston Indians)
- Sambo (racial term)
- List of sports team names and mascots derived from Indigenous peoples
- List of ethnic sports team and mascot names (all ethnicities)
- Staurowsky, Ellen J. (1998). Thomas L. Altherr, series editor Alvin L. Hall, ed. "Searching for Sockalexis: Exploring the Myth at the core of Cleveland's 'Indian' Image", appearing in The Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture, 1998. pp. 138–153. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
- "Russell Means and Juanita Helphrey discuss the Cleveland Indians and Chief Wahoo". The Morning Exchange. 1994. Retrieved 8 June 2013. "Tell us what kind of response you've gotten from the Indians organization, from the team itself, did they listen at all? Because there was some point last year when they at least considered it."
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- Associated Press (2 July 1993). "Chief Wahoo's Domain is Still Turbulent". Appearing in The New York Times. Retrieved 8 June 2013. "RICHARD JACOBS, the Indians' owner, announced Wednesday that the team would keep the name Indians and the logo. He cited historic reasons, including the use of versions of the "Chief Wahoo" logo since 1915 and the current one since 1952."
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- Andy Netzel; Walter Goldbach (August 2008). "Life According to Walter Goldbach". Cleveland Magazine.
- Pluto, Terry (http://books.google.com/books?id=e1BbdxCoZAUC&lpg=PA17&pg=PA17#v=onepage&q&f=false). The Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a Thirty-Year Slump. Gray & Company, original printing by Simon & Schuster. p. 17. ISBN 978-1-59851-035-5.
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- The Associated Press. "New Scoreboard Set for Cleveland Park". Appearing in The Victoria Advocate. Retrieved 5 June 2013. "That board can regale fans with ... animated cartoons of Chief Wahoo yelling "Charge!" ... [Terry] says she will come here soon to produce some cartoons such as one of a hatching chicken crying "Foul!" or two players being skewered by a single arrow to signify a double play. The latter, she said, was one she suggested for the Atlanta board, 'but they didn't like it.' Cleveland Stadium public relations director Dino Lucarelli 'loved it', she added."
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- Recent depictions of the 1928 uniforms show an American Indian logo patch on the left breast. However, period photos appear to show the team in uniforms that do not match this depiction. See, for example, this photo of the 1928 team.
- The online gallery of historical Cleveland uniforms does not accurately depict the evolution of the pre-Wahoo logo, an Indian drawn in profile. For example, see this 1936 photo of pitcher Bob Feller.
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- Sangiacomo, Michael (01 April 2012). "Native Americans to mark Cleveland Indians 1st games with annual protest of Chief Wahoo logo". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 4 June 2013. "The director of the Cleveland American Indian Movement, who goes only by the name 'Sundance,' said Native Americans have been protesting the ball club's name and mascot since the original AIM was formed in 1973. There have been several changes to the American Indian Movement in Cleveland since it began. 'This behavior is exploitative, bigoted, racist and shameful,' Sundance said. 'It makes fun of genocide and mocks mass murder. The logo is just the head of an Indian. That means he is an ex-Indian. This has been going on for more than 50 years. I hope it does not continue for another 50.'"
- Barrientos, Tonya (16 March 2002). "A chief beef: Some teams still seem insensitive to Indians". Philadelphia Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2004-06-18. Retrieved 4 June 2013. "Bob DiBiasio, vice president for public relations, says the team has adopted an alternative cap that displays an 'I' instead of the chief on the front. 'That way, if fans want an authentic piece of team apparel without the logo, it gives them an option,' DiBiasio says ... DiBiasio reminds me that Chief Wahoo was never meant to be a racist logo and that 'if there is no intent to demean, how can something demean?'"
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- Jehl, Douglas (5 April 1994). "Clinton's Doubleheader: Two Cities, Two Sports". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 June 2013. "Even if it was just a ball game, Mr. Clinton still took pains to remain politically correct. For his stride to the mound this afternoon, he chose a home-team cap and jacket of a style seldom seen after the Indians reinstituted a logo in the 1970's featuring Chief Wahoo, the grinning, befeathered caricature that has offended American Indians ever since. That made Mr. Clinton the only one on the field adorned in the old-fashioned block C, a step that a White House aide said he had taken 'in recognition of the sensitivities' aggravated by a team that still calls itself the Tribe."
- Zografos, Daphne (2010). Intellectual Property and Traditional Cultural Expressions. Northampton, Massachusetts: Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc. pp. 90–91. "National public debate on these issues intensified when on 4 April 1994, following intense protest over the Cleveland Indians' use of 'Chief Wahoo' as their mascot, declined to wear a cap featuring the controversial mascot, when invited to throw out the first pitch in the inaugural game at Jacob's Field. Instead, he wore an alternate cap embroidered with a large 'C' rather than the 'Chief Wahoo' emblem."
- Rhode, John B. (Fall 1994). "The Mascot Name Change Controversy: A Lesson in Hypersensitivity". Marquette Sports Law Review 5 (1): 141–160. Retrieved 7 June 2013. "For example, in an apparent attempt to appease his 'politically correct' constituency, President Bill Clinton donned the old style Cleveland Indians baseball cap with the letter 'C' for Cleveland on it when he threw out the first pitch on April 4, 1994, opening day at Cleveland's brand new Jacobs Field. Obviously, Clinton was afraid of the potential fall-out that might have followed if he wore the Indians' modem cap with the currently controversial, grinning Indian 'Chief Wahoo' mascot on it."
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- Hoynes, Paul (18 May 2013). "Will the AL and NL ever agree on the DH? Hey, Hoynsie!". The Plain Dealer. Retrieved 7 June 2013. "I do know that over the years Chief Wahoo has become less and less a part of the team's image and uniform. In spring training, it's not used at all because of the heavy population of Native Americans in Arizona. The only place you see Chief Wahoo is in the gift shop at Goodyear Ballpark."
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- Vecsey, George (19 October 1995). "Sports of The Times: This Series Could Prove Offensive". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 June 2013. "If you stop to think about it -- as I have been forced to do by writing this column -- it really is offensive to take a people whose religion, whose love of the land, whose suffering, is intrinsically mixed with race, and turn them into mascots. These conditions go back to earlier times, like the 1948 World Series, when white people didn't have to think about this stuff. But now we do."
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- Deborah Wood, quoting Edgar Heap of Birds (1998). "Art and Transformation". Issues in Integrative Studies 16: 57–71. "Over the past 500 years, the dominant culture has attempted to crush the lives of Indian people, rendering many entire tribes extinct, through brutal wars and government policies. Today, Indian people must still struggle in order to survive in America. We must battle against forces that have dealt us among the lowest educational opportunities, lowest income levels, lowest standards of health, lowest housing conditions, lowest political representation and highest mortality rates in America. Even as these grave hardships exist for the living Indian people, a mockery is made of us by reducing our tribal names and images to the level of insulting sports team mascots, brand name automobiles, camping equipment, city and state names, and various other commercial products produced by the dominate culture. This strange and insensitive custom is particularly insulting when one considers the great lack of attention that is given to real Indian concerns. It must be understood that no human being should be identified as subservient to another culture. To be overpowered and manipulated in such a way as to thought to become a team mascot is totally unthinkable. --Quoted from Phelan, Andrew and Carol Beesley, eds. (1997). 25th Anniversary: School of Art Faculty Exhibition. Norman: University of Oklahoma."
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- Ferguson, Doug (19 October 1995). "Series Will Be Offensive To Many -- Team Nicknames, Mascots Object Of Protests". Appearing in The Seattle Times. Retrieved 8 June 2013. "'As long as Mr. Jacobs owns the team, Chief Wahoo will be our logo,' said Cleveland vice president Bob DiBiasio."
- "Mr. Jacobs has gone on record as saying as long as he owns the team, the nickname and the logo will remain,' said DiBiasio.[full citation needed]
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- Castillo, Susan (8 March 2012). "Schools' Use of Native American Mascots: Report to the State Board of Education". State of Oregon. Retrieved 7 June 2013. "Both studies found that Native American youth exposed to stereotypical Native American images (e.g., Chief Wahoo) experienced decreased self-esteem compared to youth not exposed to these images."
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- Harjo, Suzan Shown (8 December 2006). "Stop giving Indian money to anti-Indians and their backers". Indian Country Today. Retrieved 12 June 2013. "The Disney/ABC comedians seem to be the worst, or at least the most consistently insensitive. One of them, Drew Carey, is the foremost spokes-comic for the disgraceful symbol of the Cleveland baseball team and he puts down Native people who don't share his love of 'Chief Wahoo.' Carey's punch lines portray actual Indian people as a notch below fictional 'Indian' logos and as dumb, easily duped and deservedly caricatured."
- ICTMN Staff (2 November 2012). "Cleveland-Born Hip Hop Star Kid Cudi Would 'Revamp' Chief Wahoo". Indian Country Today Media Network. Retrieved 8 June 2013.
- Eszterhas, Joe (2004). Hollywood Animal: A Memoir (First Vintage Books paperback edition, March 2005 ed.). Vintage Books. p. 233. ISBN 0-375-71895-8.
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- "About the Center". Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved 6 June 2013.
- Felling, Matthew (18 October 2007). "Off-Day Filler?". CBS News. Retrieved 6 June 2013. "I was wondering if there was similar information on the Cleveland mascot, so I called up the Annenberg press office, and they informed me they did not have data on the American-Indian reaction to the Cleveland Indian Chief Wahoo mascot."
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- "Some collected materials about the NCAA's decision to ban Indian sports mascots from the Indianapolis area". Retrieved 01/27/2013.
- Fryberg, S. A.; Markus, H. R., Oyserman, D., & Stone, J. M. (2008). "Of Warrior Chiefs and Indian Princesses: The Psychological Consequences of American Indian Mascots". Basic and Applied Social Psychology 30 (3): 208–218. Retrieved 4 June 2013.
- Fryberg, Stephanie A. "Prepared testimony before the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs". Government Printing Office. Retrieved 4 June 2013. "The research findings on the use of American Indian mascots are proving to be remarkably consistent across studies and in terms of how the studies align with past research on stereotyping and prejudice. The research empirically demonstrates, for the first time, that the negative stereotypes promoted by American Indian mascots reveal negative consequences for the targeted minority group and positive consequences for the mainstream majority group. Hence, the use of American Indian mascots not only promotes the development, endorsement, and activation of negative attitudes and behaviors toward contemporary American Indians, but they reinforce inequality and, in so doing, undermine race relations in this country."
- Freng, S.; Willis-Esqueda, C. (2011). "A question of honor: Chief Wahoo and American Indian stereotype activation among a university based sample.". Journal of Social Psychology 151 (5): 577–591. PMID 22017074. "The purpose of this investigation was to examine if exposure to an American Indian mascot activated American Indian stereotypes in a predominately European American sample. In addition, we explored the role of personal motivation, prejudice level, and experience on stereotype activation. We found that the Chief Wahoo image (i.e., Cleveland Indian's logo) compared to other images activated negative, but not positive, American Indian stereotypes. Participants' motivation to control prejudice, prejudice level, and experience did not predict negative stereotype activation. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed."
- American Psychological Association (2005). "Justification Statement: Resolution Recommending the Immediate Retirement of American Indian Mascots, Symbols, Images, and Personalities by Schools, Colleges, Universities, Athletic Teams, and Organizations" (PDF). American Psychological Association. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
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- UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST v. GATEWAY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION OF GREATER CLEVELAND INC (6th Circuit Court of Appeals 2004) (“Because the Gateway Sidewalk is a public forum, Gateway may saddle it only with content-neutral time, place, and manner restrictions that are narrowly tailored to further a significant governmental interest and reserve sufficient alternative avenues of communication. See Chabad, 363 F.3d at 434.”). Text