Small group protests Indians' use of Chief Wahoo logo

CLEVELAND (AP) His body shivering from the cold, Josh Hunt wasn't going to let the weather stop him from a meaningful act.

Hunt was one of a handful of protesters outside Progressive Field on Monday calling for the Cleveland Indians to stop using their Chief Wahoo logo, a symbol he and other Native Americans find offensive.

"It needs to go,'' said the 30-year-old Hunt, who is registered with the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes in Oklahoma. ''It's a cartoon depiction that disrespects our people and culture.''

Hunt was part of a small group standing near the center field entrance who withstood freezing temperatures to protest the Indians' use of Chief Wahoo, the smiling, red-faced logo at the center of a decades-old debate in Cleveland.

Holding hand-painted signs that read ''People Not Mascots'' and ''Little Red Sambo Must Go,'' the protesters demanded the team abolish a logo - and mascot - they feel is racist and demeaning to Native Americans. The group later disbanded after the season opener against the Boston Red Sox was postponed until Tuesday because of unseasonably cold weather.

''It's wrong that the team has made money off the likeness for years,'' said Hunt, pointing toward the Indians' team shop bustling with opening day fans. ''They need to do more.''

The Indians dropped Wahoo as their primary logo two years ago, switching to a block ''C'', and reduced the logo's visibilty. However, one of the caps the Indians wear at home has the ''Wahoo'' logo on its front and Cleveland's jerseys remain adorned with the Wahoo logo on one sleeve.

While there is stiff opposition to the Wahoo logo, there are some who view it as a symbol of civic pride.

As the protesters stood silently displaying their signs, one woman walking by yelled, ''Keep the chief.''

''I understand their point,'' Hunt said. ''But it's a racist depiction.''

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.