List of sports team names and mascots derived from indigenous peoples
While the history of colonization and marginalization is not unique to the Americas, the practice of deriving sports team names, imagery, and mascots from indigenous peoples of North America is a significant phenomenon in the United States and Canada. The popularity of the American Indian in global culture has led to a number of teams in Europe also adopting team names derived from Native Americans. In Asia, Africa, Australia and South America, the adoption of indigenous names generally indicates that the team members are themselves indigenous. While there are team names in North America derived from other ethnic groups, such as the Boston Celtics, the New York Yankees, the University of Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" and the Minnesota Vikings, these are names selected by immigrant/settler groups to represent themselves.
The rise of indigenous rights movements has led to controversy regarding the continuation of practices rooted in colonialism. Such practices maintain the power relationship between the dominant culture and the indigenous culture, and can be seen as a form of cultural imperialism. Such practices are seen as particularly harmful in schools and universities, which have the a stated purpose of promoting ethnic diversity and inclusion. In recognition of the responsibility of higher education to eliminate behaviors that creates a hostile environment for education, in 2005 the NCAA initiated a policy against "hostile and abusive" names and mascots that led to the change of many derived from Native American culture, with the exception of those that established an agreement with particular tribes for the use of their specific names. Other schools retain their names because they were founded for the education of Native Americans, and continue to have a significant number of indigenous students.
The trend towards the elimination of indigenous names and mascots in local schools has been steady, with two thirds having been eliminated over the past 50 years according to the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI). In a few states with significant Native American populations, change has been mandated by law, such in Wisconsin, Oregon, and Washington.
Little League International has updated its 2019 rulebook to include a statement prohibiting "the use of team names, mascots, nicknames or logos that are racially insensitive, derogatory or discriminatory in nature." This decision has been applauded by the National Congress of American Indians.
- 1 Professional/Adult teams
- 1.1 Current usage
- 1.2 Prior pro usage
- 2 Colleges and universities
- 3 Secondary schools
- 4 Non-scholastic youth teams
- 5 See also
- 6 External links
- 7 References
- Bristol Aztecs (British American Football League) - Bristol, England
- Bürstadt Redskins, an American Football club in Bürstadt, Germany
- Eberswalder Warriors, an American Football club in Eberswalde, Germany
- Garland Aztecs, Garland, Texas - Semi-Pro
- Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) - While adopting Native American imagery, the team was named in honor of Kansas City mayor Harold Roe Bartle who was instrumental in bringing the AFL Dallas Texans to Kansas City, Missouri in 1963 (becoming the last professional team to adopt an indigenous-derived name). Bartle earned his nickname as founder of a regional Boy Scouts honor camping society, the Tribe of Mic-O-Say, in which he was "Chief" Lone Bear. In 1989 the Chiefs switched from Warpaint, a Pinto horse ridden by a man in a feathered headdress, to their current mascot K. C. Wolf. Warpaint returned in 2009, but is ridden by a cheerleader.
- Southern California Apaches - (Semi-Pro, United Football Alliance League)
- Washington Redskins (NFL) See also: Washington Redskins name controversy
- New Jersey Savage
- Spanktown Boyz - Uses a Native American wielding a tomahawk as its logo
- Union City Chiefs
- K.A.A. Gent (Belgian First Division A), Ghent, East Flanders - Known as the Buffaloes, the team uses an Indian head logo and a mascot in faux Native costume.
- Guarani Esporte Clube (CE), Juazeiro do Norte
- Guarani Esporte Clube (MG), Divinópolis
- Guarani Futebol Clube, Campinas
- Guarany Futebol Clube, Bagé
- Guarany Futebol Clube (Camaquã)
- Guarany Sporting Club, Sobral
- Associação Atlética Guarany, Porto da Folha
- Esporte Clube Guarani, Venâncio Aires
- Sociedade Esportiva, Recreativa e Cultural Guarani, Palhoça
- Sport Club Guarany, Cruz Alta
- Tupi Football Club, Juiz de Fora
- Tupynambás Futebol Clube, Juiz de Fora
- Colo-Colo, Santiago de Chile. Name relates to the Mapuche
- Lautaro, Buin. Also called Guerreros de Buín (Warriors Buín)
- Indios de Ciudad Juárez – Mexican football team
Australian rules football
All of these teams are composed of Indigenous Australians
- Flying Boomerangs (Australia), in reference to the boomerang, an indigenous Australian hunting tool and instrument.
- Indigenous All Stars (Australia), formerly known Aboriginal All-Stars
- Gauting Indians, a baseball and softball club from Gauting, a suburb of Munich, Germany. The women's team is the "Squaws".
- Atlanta Braves (Atlanta, Georgia) - originally Boston Braves, then Milwaukee Braves. The mascot Chief Noc-A-Homa existed until 1983 season, Princess Win-A-Lotta was introduced late 1970s, dropped at same time as Noc-A-Homa. In 1991 the Braves adopted the Tomahawk Chop from Florida State University when Deion Sanders joined the team.
- Caribes de Anzoátegui (Puerto la Cruz, Venezuela) - While Caribe is another name for the Kalina people, it is also a local term for piranhas, particularly in Venezuela. The team has no apparent use of indigenous imagery.
- Cleveland Indians (Cleveland, Ohio) - Receives the most attention due to its mascot, Chief Wahoo. While the origin of the name is sometimes attributed to Louis Sockalexis from the Penobscot tribe having played for the team, documentary evidence indicates otherwise.
- Indios de Mayagüez - (Indians of Mayaguez) Puerto Rican Baseball team from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico.
- Mayos de Navojoa (Navojoa, Sonora, Mexico) - The Mayo people are indigenous to Sonora
- Yaquis de Obregón (Ciudad Obregón, Sonora, Mexico) - The Yaqui are indigenous to Sonora
Affiliates of the Atlanta Braves:
- Danville Braves (Danville, Virginia)
- Gulf Coast League Braves (Lake Buena Vista, Florida) - The team plays at the Walt Disney World Resort.
- Mississippi Braves (Pearl, Mississippi)
- Rome Braves (Rome, Georgia)
Affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates:
Affiliate of the Texas Rangers:
All three existing National Basketball Association teams that previously used indigenous imagery have stopped doing so. (See Prior usage list below).
- Bendigo Braves (Bendigo, Victoria) play in the South East Australian Basketball League
- Guaiqueríes de Margarita, (LPB) - named after an indigenous people of Northern Venezuela also known as the Waikerí.
- Indios de Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, (Liga Nacional de Baloncesto Profesional)
- Indios de Mayagüez, Puerto Rico Superior Basketball League
- Portland Chinooks, Portland, Oregon, (International Basketball League)
- Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
- Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) - While retaining their name, the team has retired their mascot "Chief Wannawin". The chief of a local First Nation applauds the move but is disappointed mascot was part of team for 20 years.
- Frölunda Indians (Swedish Hockey League)
- Johnstown Chiefs (ECHL) — Named after the Charlestown Chiefs, the fictional team in the movie Slap Shot (partially shot in the real team's home city of Johnstown, Pennsylvania). Team moved and became Greenville Road Warriors in 2010.
- Macklin Mohawks, Macklin, Saskatchewan
- Malmö Redhawks (Swedish Hockey League)
- Moose Jaw Warriors (WHL)
- Morden Redskins, (SEMHL)
- Pilsen, Czech Republic (Czech Extraliga)
- Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
- Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
- Spokane Chiefs (WHL)
- Whitley Warriors (NIHL), Whitley Bay, United Kingdom. The women's team is the "Squaws".
- Alberta Lacrosse Association
- Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League
- Junior B Lacrosse
- Edmonton Warriors - Indian head logo
- Junior B Lacrosse
- Rocky Mountain Lacrosse League
- Ontario Lacrosse Association
- Major Series Lacrosse:
- Senior B Lacrosse
- Six Nations Rivermen - Logo is an Indian paddling a canoe
- Junior A Lacrosse
- Junior B Lacrosse
- Quebec Senior Lacrosse
- Kahnawake Mohawks - Cartoon Indian head logo
- Kahnawake Tomahawks - Indian head logo
- West Coast Senior Lacrosse Association (WSCLA), British Columbia - The Association logo features an "Indian Head"
- The Chiefs, formerly the Waikato Chiefs (North Island of New Zealand) - a rugby union side in the Super Rugby competition. Their logo is a male figure holding a Māori club.
- Griquas, South African team named after the Griqua people, however their symbol is an oryx.
- Māori All Blacks, previously the New Zealand Māori, a rugby union side whose members must be at least 1/16 Māori
- The New Zealand Warriors, (Auckland, New Zealand) - plays in the Australian NRL competition. The team logo indicates the "Warrior" is an indigenous reference.
- Northland Taniwha, a rugby team in the Mitre 10 Cup named after a being from Māori mythology
- Exeter Chiefs (Exeter, Devon, England) - a rugby union side in the English Aviva Premiership, also uses the FSU war chant and an American Indian logo.
- Indigenous All Stars a.k.a. Indigenous All Stars or Indigenous Dreamtime. Dreamtime is an indigenous Australian religious/mythological term.
- New Zealand Māori rugby league team
- Indianerna (the Indians) are a Swedish motorcycle speedway team based in Kumla, Sweden at (Elitserien)
Prior pro usage
Many professional teams changed because they moved to another city, or went out of business ("Defunct" in table below).
|Old Name||Sport/League||City, State||Year Changed||New Name||Notes|
|Akron Indians||National Football League||Akron, Ohio||Defunct||Akron Pros||Changed back to the Indians in 1926, then folded|
|Tri-Cities "Blackhawks"||National Basketball Association||Moline, Illinois||1951||Atlanta Hawks||Team was also the Milwaukee & St. Louis "Hawks"|
|Buffalo Braves||National Basketball Association||Buffalo, New York||1978||Los Angeles Clippers||Also the San Diego Clippers|
|Burlington Indians||Minor League Baseball||Burlington, North Carolina||2006||Burlington Royals||Changed affiliation from Cleveland Indians to Kansas City Royals|
|Canton/Akron Indians||Minor League Baseball||Akron, Ohio||1996||Aeros||Former farm team for the Cleveland Indians|
|Cleveland Indians (1921)||National Football League||Cleveland, Ohio||Defunct|
|Cleveland Indians (1931)||National Football League||Cleveland, Ohio||Defunct|
|Duluth Eskimos||National Football League||Duluth, Minnesota||1927||Defunct||also known as the Duluth "Kelleys"|
|Flint Indians||Michigan Baseball League||Flint, Michigan||1941||NA|
|Golden State Warriors||National Basketball Association||Oakland, California||1971||NA||Originally Philadelphia Warriors, then San Francisco Warriors, dropped Indian imagery when they move to Oakland|
|Gwinnett Braves||International League||Lawrenceville, Georgia||2017||Gwinnett Stripers||Originally Richmond Braves, renamed as Gwinnett Braves upon move, rebranded after 2017 season. The Stripers continue to be the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.|
|Indios de Ciudad Juarez||Minor League Baseball||Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico||1984||Defunct|
|Kansas City Scouts||National Hockey League||Kansas City, Missouri||1976||now the New Jersey Devils||First moved to Colorado and became the "Rockies"|
|Kinston Indians||Minor League Baseball||Kinston, North Carolina||2012||NA||replaced by the Carolina Mudcats|
|Mexico City Aztecas||Continental Basketball Association||Mexico City||Defunct||Only one season 1994-95|
|Oorang Indians||National Football League||Defunct||Consisting mostly of Native Americans|
|Ottawa Tomahawks||National Basketball League of Canada||Ottawa||2013||Ottawa SkyHawks||Name changed shortly after announced due to controversy, team folded after one season.|
|Salisbury Indians||Minor League Baseball||Salisbury, Maryland||Defunct|
|Sheboygan Red Skins||Basketball||Sheboygan, Wisconsin||1952||Defunct|
|Springfield Indians||American Hockey League||Peoria, Illinois||Rivermen||First moved to Worcester and became the IceCats|
|Streatham Redskins||NIHL South Division 1||London, England||2016||Streatham Ice Hockey Club|
|Syracuse Chiefs||Minor League Baseball||Syracuse, New York||Changed from Native American logo and name in 1997 to "Skychiefs" with aviation theme and reverted to "Chiefs" in 2007 but with train logo.|
|Swift Current Indians||Western Major Baseball League (East Division)||Swift Current, Saskatchewan, Canada||2017||Swift Current 57's||The team dropped the "Indians" name in 2016.|
|Toronto Tecumsehs||National Hockey Association||Toronto, Ontario||1913||Toronto Ontarios||renamed the Toronto Shamrocks in 1915 and ceased operations later that year|
Colleges and universities
Non-scholastic youth teams
- American Indian Little League, Palmdale, California
- Dornbirn Indians, Redskins, and "Little Indians", a youth baseball club in Austria.
- Skokie Indians, Skokie, Illinois 
- Albemarle Redskins, Albemarle County, Virginia
- Antioch Redskins, Plant City, Florida
- Bennetts Creek Warriors, Suffolk, Virginia
- Derby Red Raiders, Derby, Connecticut 
- East Bay Warriors, Oakland, California
- Fort Braden Chiefs, Fort Braden, Florida
- FW Redskins, Goodyear, Arizona
- Immokalee Seminoles, Immokalee, Florida
- Lower Sussex Indians, Sussex County, Delaware
- Nonnewaug Chiefs, Woodbury, Connecticut
- Oak Cliff Redskins, Dallas, Texas
- Pomperaug Warriors, Southbury, Connecticut
- Reynolds Corner Redskins, Toledo, Ohio
- Southeast Apaches, San Antonio, Texas
- Southland Comanches, Colorado
- Stratford Redskin, Stratford, Connecticut
- Water Oak Indians, Watertown, Connecticut
- Western Albemarle Chiefs, Crozet, Virginia
- Willamette Redskins, Eugene, Oregon
- Antioch Redskins, Plant City, Florida 
- CLCF Football, Cranston, Rhode Island (Chiefs)
- Catawissa Redskins, Catawissa, Pennsylvania
- Donaldsonville Redskins, Donaldsonville, Louisiana 
- Fauquier Youth Football, Fauquier County, Virginia 
- Grayling Redskins Youth Football, Grayling, Michigan
- Kanawha Youth Football Redskins, Richmond, Virginia 
- Lancaster Junior Redskins, Lancaster, New York
- Loudon Redskins Youth Football, Loudon, Tennessee 
- Patterson Redskins Youth Football & Cheer, Patterson, California
- Rochester Redskins Youth Football & Cheer, Rochester, Michigan 
- Sarasota Ringling Redskins, Sarasota, Florida
- South Cherokee Football and Cheer "Redskins", Woodstock, Georgia
- Southwest Redskins, Houston, Texas 
- Sterling Heights Redskins, Sterling Heights, Michigan 
- Vienna Youth Inc. Football Chiefs, Vienna, Virginia
- Washington Redskins Midget Football, Washington, New Jersey
- Whittier Redskins, Whittier, California
- Woonsocket Redskins Youth Football and Cheerleading, Woonsocket, Rhode Island
- Copper Cliff Redmen, Copper Cliff, Ontario 
- Onion Lake Border Chiefs, Onion Lake Cree Nation
- Saddle Lake Warriors, Saddle Lake, Alberta
- Tavistock Braves, Tavistock, Ontario
- Akwesasne Indians, Akwesasne, a Mohawk Nation that intersects the United States and Canada
- Elora Mohawks, Elora, Ontario
- Kitchener-Waterloo Braves, Kitchener, Ontario
- Kahnawake Hunters, Kahnawake, Quebec
- Mississauga Tomahawks, Mississauga, Ontario
- Six Nations Arrows, Hagersville, Ontario
- Six Nations Rebels, Hagersville, Ontario
- Six Nations Warriors, Hagersville, Ontario
- Tomahawks, Palo Alto, California
- Whitby Warriors, Whitby, Ontario
- Little Redskins, Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation (IKWF) sanctioned club (K-8th grade) in Morris, Illinois – Uses a version of the DC team logo
- Native American mascot controversy
- Native American mascot laws and regulations
- List of company and product names derived from indigenous peoples
- List of contemporary ethnic groups
- List of indigenous peoples
Sources of data on teams/mascots
- MaxPreps is a site for U.S. High School sports information, and can be searched by mascot name as well as school name, but the data is not kept up to date so it is only a starting place.
- MascotDB is a searchable database of mascots from Pro to High School.
- List of Semi-Pro Football Teams
- "Factsheet: Indigenous People, Indigenous Voices" (PDF).
- "Who Are Indigenous Peoples". Retrieved November 15, 2014.
- Pewewardy, Cornel (1999). "From enemy to mascot: The deculturation of Indian mascots in sports culture". Canadian Journal of Native Education. 23 (2): 176–189. ISSN 0710-1481. Retrieved 2014-11-22.
- Longwell-Grice, Robert; Hope Longwell-Grice (2003). "Chiefs, Braves, and Tomahawks: The Use of American Indians as University Mascots". NASPA Journal (National Association of Student Personnel Administrators, Inc.). 40 (3): 1–12. doi:10.2202/0027-6014.1255. ISSN 0027-6014. Retrieved 2014-10-29.
- "Statement of the United States Commission on Civil Rights on the use of Native American images and nicknames as sports symbols". 2001. Retrieved December 10, 2016.
- "Anti-Defamation and Mascots". National Congress of American Indians. Retrieved 12 January 2013.
- Keen, Judy (Oct 7, 2010). "Wis. law lets residents challenge race-based mascots". USA Today.
- "State Board of Education Bans Use of Native American Mascots". Oregon State Department of Education. Retrieved February 10, 2013.
- Abby Ellin (Sep 29, 2012). "Washington State Wants Schools to Ban Native American Mascots". ABC News. Retrieved 2013-09-17.
- "2012 Native American Mascot Resolution" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-17.
- "Rulebook Update". Little League International. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
- "NCAI Applauds Decision by Little League International to Ban Racially Offensive Team Names and Mascots". Alaska Native News. January 11, 2019.
- "Warpaint". Kansas City Chiefs. Retrieved November 13, 2014.
- Andrew Keh (May 7, 2018). "Tomahawk Chops and Indian Mascots: In Europe, Teams Don't See a Problem". The New York Times.
- "How the Atlanta Braves adopted the tomahawk chop from the Florida State Seminoles". Retrieved November 15, 2014.
- Staurowsky, Ellen (December 1998). "An Act of Honor or Exploitation? The Cleveland Indians' Use of the Louis Francis Sockalexis Story". Sociology of Sports Journal. 15 (4): 299.
- The Canadian Press (November 28, 2016). "Innisfail Baseball Team Changes Name From 'Indians' To 'Trappers'". The Huffington Post.
- Liam Britten (September 7, 2017). "Chilliwack hockey team retires 'inappropriate' mascot Chief Wannawin". CBC News.
- Ed Oldfield (August 3, 2016). "Is it time for Exeter Chiefs to bury the tomahawks?". Exeter Express and Echo. Archived from the original on October 10, 2016.
- Cory McCartney (December 8, 2017). "Braves' Triple-A affiliate rebranded as Gwinnett Stripers". FOX Sports South. Retrieved December 9, 2017.
- "Swift Current, Sask., baseball team reveals new name for 'Indians':Sask. team rebranding follows similar decision in Alberta". CBC News. January 10, 2017.
- "Dornbirn Indians". Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- Skokie Indians, Illinois
- "RPLL: Redskins". Retrieved 25 June 2016.
- Albemarle Redskins Virginia
- Antioch Redskins Archived 2015-10-13 at the Wayback Machine
- Bennetts Creek Warriors
- Derby Red Raiders, CT
- East Bay Warriors, Oakland CA
- Fort Braden Chiefs, FL
- Phoenix, AZ
- Immokalee Seminoles, FL
- Lower Sussex Indians, DE
- Nonnewaug Chiefs, CT
- Oak Cliff Redskins
- Pomperaug Warriors, CT
- Reynolds Corner Redskins, Toledo OH
- Southeast Apaches, San Antonio, Texas
- Southland Comanches, CO
- Stratford Redskin, CT
- Water Oak Indians, CT
- Western Albemarle Chiefs
- Willamette Redskins, Eugene OR
- "Antioch Redskins, Plant City, Florida".
- CLCF Chiefs
- DeRon Talley (November 15, 2012). "D'ville Redskins headed to the Superbowl". The Donaldsonville Chief.
- Fauquier Youth Football, Fauquier County, Virginia
- Grayling Redskins Youth Football
- Kanawha Youth Football Redskins, Richmond, Virginia
- Loudon Redskins Youth Football, Loudon, Tennessee
- Patterson Redskins Football Archived 2014-12-18 at the Wayback Machine
- Rochester Redskins, Rochester, Michigan
- "Local Redskins youth league not feeling pressure to change name". WWSB. June 19, 2014.
- South Cherokee Football and Cheer
- Southwest Redskins, Houston, Texas
- Sterling Heights Redskins
- Vienna Youth Inc.
- Washington Redskins Midget Football, Washington, New Jersey
- Woonsocket Redskins Youth Football & Cheerleading
- "Couple calls on Ontario government to ban Indigenous logos, mascots in schools". CBC News Ottawa. May 22, 2017. Retrieved 26 May 2017.
- Little Redskins