List of sports team names and mascots derived from indigenous peoples

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There is not total agreement on the definition of indigenous peoples, but there are some criteria used by the United Nations[1] and the International Labour Organization:[2]

  • People descended from the pre-colonial/pre-invasion inhabitants of a region.
  • People that continue to have a distinct language or culture with close ties to the land.
  • People who suffer economic and political marginalization as a minority group.
  • People who identify themselves as indigenous.

This definition in international law is not identical to the American English dictionary definition of the word indigenous, which is broad enough to include native and born as synonyms.[3] The additional criteria of a people both colonized or invaded and reduced to a marginalized minority is however part of the current majority understanding of the terms First Nations, Native American and Indigenous peoples of the Americas as referring to the decedents of pre-colonial peoples of the Americas, not everyone born there.

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 is a significant phenomena in the United States and Canada. The rise of indigenous rights movements in these counties has also led to controversy regarding the continuation of practices rooted in colonialism.[4] Such practices maintain the power relationship between the dominant culture and the indigenous culture, and can be seen as a form of cultural imperialism.[5] Such practices are seen as particularly harmful in schools and universities, which have the a stated purpose of promoting ethnic diversity and inclusion.[6] 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. In other former colonies in Asia, Africa and South America, the adoption of indigenous names for majority indigenous teams is also found. However, there are also a number of teams outside the Americas with team names derived from Native Americans.

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).[7] In a few states with significant Native American populations, change has been mandated by law, such in Wisconsin,[8] Oregon,[9] and Washington.[10][11]

Other ethnicities[edit]

There are team names derived from immigrant/settler groups, such as the Boston Celtics, the University of Notre Dame "Fighting Irish" and the Minnesota Vikings (the latter name was selected in reference to the Scandinavian settlers of that region), none of which are indigenous. The Irish and other ethnic groups in America were sometimes subject to marginalization, but not colonization. Colonization of the Celtic peoples in their native lands by the English did occur, but lies outside of the scope of this article.[12]

Professional/Adult teams[edit]

Current usage[edit]

American football[edit]

Association football[edit]

Brazil

See also: Guaraní people

Chile

  • Colo-Colo, Santiago de Chile. Name relates to the Mapuche
  • Lautaro, Buin. Also called Guerreros de Buín (Warriors Buín)

Mexico

Paraguay

South Africa

Australian rules football[edit]

All of these teams are composed of Indigenous Australians

Baseball[edit]

Major league[edit]
Further information: Liga Mexicana del Pacífico
Minor league[edit]

A Minor league team in Innisfail, Alberta, the "Indians", has made a decision to become the "Trappers".[16]

Affiliates of the Atlanta Braves: (An additional affiliate is the Lynchburg Hillcats)

Affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates:

Affiliate of the Texas Rangers:

Basketball[edit]

All three existing NBA teams that previously used indigenous imagery have stopped doing so. (See Prior usage list below).

Canadian football[edit]

Ice hockey[edit]

Lacrosse[edit]

Rugby union[edit]

Rugby league[edit]

Other[edit]

Prior pro usage[edit]

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
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
Syracuse Chiefs Minor League Baseball Syracuse, New York First Became the "SkyChiefs" with a train Logo, then reverted to the old name while retaining the new logo.
Springfield Indians American Hockey League Peoria, Illinois Rivermen First moved to Worcester and became the IceCats
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.[19]
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[edit]

Secondary schools[edit]

Non-scholastic youth teams[edit]

Baseball[edit]

Association football[edit]

American football[edit]

Pop Warner Little Scholars[edit]

Youth/Junior football[edit]

Ice Hockey[edit]

Lacrosse[edit]

Wrestling[edit]

  • Little Redskins, Illinois Kids Wrestling Federation (IKWF) sanctioned club (K-8th grade) in Morris, Illinois – Uses a version of the DC team logo[58]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

Sources of data on teams/mascots[edit]

  • 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

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Factsheet: Indigenous People, Indigenous Voices" (PDF). 
  2. ^ "Who Are Indigenous Peoples". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Indigenous: Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ "Statement of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights on the Use of Native American Images and Nicknames as Sports Symbols". The United States Commission on Civil Rights. April 13, 2001. Retrieved 2012-06-13. 
  7. ^ "Anti-Defamation and Mascots". National Congress of American Indians. Retrieved 12 January 2013. 
  8. ^ Keen, Judy (Oct 7, 2010). "Wis. law lets residents challenge race-based mascots". USA Today. 
  9. ^ "State Board of Education Bans Use of Native American Mascots". Oregon State Department of Education. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  10. ^ Abby Ellin (Sep 29, 2012). "Washington State Wants Schools to Ban Native American Mascots". ABC News. Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  11. ^ "2012 Native American Mascot Resolution" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-09-17. 
  12. ^ Dunbar-Ortiz, Roxanne (2014). An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States. Beacon Press. 
  13. ^ "Warpaint". Kansas City Chiefs. Retrieved November 13, 2014. 
  14. ^ "How the Atlanta Braves adopted the tomahawk chop from the Florida State Seminoles". Retrieved November 15, 2014. 
  15. ^ 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. 
  16. ^ The Canadian Press (November 28, 2016). "Innisfail Baseball Team Changes Name From 'Indians' To 'Trappers'". The Huffington Post. 
  17. ^ The Hockey News: Special Features: THN.com's NHL Logo Rankings
  18. ^ Ed Oldfield (August 3, 2016). "Is it time for Exeter Chiefs to bury the tomahawks?". Exeter Express and Echo. 
  19. ^ "Swift Current, Sask., baseball team reveals new name for 'Indians':Sask. team rebranding follows similar decision in Alberta". CBC News. January 10, 2017. 
  20. ^ "Dornbirn Indians". Retrieved December 16, 2016. 
  21. ^ Skokie Indians, Illinois
  22. ^ "RPLL: Redskins". Retrieved 25 June 2016. 
  23. ^ Albemarle Redskins Virginia
  24. ^ Antioch Redskins
  25. ^ Bennetts Creek Warriors
  26. ^ Derby Red Raiders, CT
  27. ^ East Bay Warriors, Oakland CA
  28. ^ Fort Braden Chiefs, FL
  29. ^ Phoenix, AZ
  30. ^ Immokalee Seminoles, FL
  31. ^ Lower Sussex Indians, DE
  32. ^ Nonnewaug Chiefs, CT
  33. ^ Oak Cliff Redskins
  34. ^ Pomperaug Warriors, CT
  35. ^ Reynolds Corner Redskins, Toledo OH
  36. ^ Southeast Apaches, San Antonio, Texas
  37. ^ Southland Comanches, CO
  38. ^ Stratford Redskin, CT
  39. ^ Water Oak Indians, CT
  40. ^ Western Albemarle Chiefs
  41. ^ Willamette Redskins, Eugene OR
  42. ^ "Antioch Redskins, Plant City, Florida". www.antiochredskins.org/. 
  43. ^ CLCF Chiefs
  44. ^ DeRon Talley (November 15, 2012). "D'ville Redskins headed to the Superbowl". The Donaldsonville Chief. 
  45. ^ Fauquier Youth Football, Fauquier County, Virginia
  46. ^ Grayling Redskins Youth Football
  47. ^ Kanawha Youth Football Redskins, Richmond, Virginia
  48. ^ Loudon Redskins Youth Football, Loudon, Tennessee
  49. ^ Patterson Redskins Football
  50. ^ Rochester Redskins, Rochester, Michigan
  51. ^ "Local Redskins youth league not feeling pressure to change name". WWSB. June 19, 2014. 
  52. ^ South Cherokee Football and Cheer
  53. ^ Southwest Redskins, Houston, Texas
  54. ^ Sterling Heights Redskins
  55. ^ Vienna Youth Inc.
  56. ^ Washington Redskins Midget Football, Washington, New Jersey
  57. ^ Woonsocket Redskins Youth Football & Cheerleading
  58. ^ Little Redskins