Cleveland’s first professional baseball team actually began about four years after the end of the Civil War. Cleveland’s first game was scheduled on June 2, 1869; Cleveland “Forest City’s” played the Cincinnati “Red Stockings.”
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is presenting a symposium and a community conversation, and to participate be there on Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. in the museum’s Rasmussen Theater in Washington, D.C.
A very brief history of Cleveland’s Indians baseball team mascots beginning in early 1890s as “the Spiders,” had thrived with legendary pitcher, Cy Young, and Louis Francis Sockalexis a lightning fast powerhouse hitter and starting right fielder, grandson of a Penobscot chief, from state of Maine.
In 1901, Cleveland changed its name to the Blues, the Broncos in 1902, and the Naps in 1903, and finally during the 1914 – 1915 season, they finally became “the Indians.” Therefore, it has been the team’s mascot for nearly one hundred years.
There are two versions of how they actually chose the “Indians” as their mascot. First, it was honoring Louis Francis Sockalexis, who actually was a very talented baseball player. Second version, the owner asked the sports writers to poll the fans and ask what name they would like most as a mascot. Fans replied, “Indians.”
“What better place to address this issue than the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall,” said Kevin Gover (Pawnee), director of the museum? “The Smithsonian Institution is the ideal forum to bring people together to ask tough questions.”
Coach Thorp named his all Native American football team named the Oorang Indians as their mascot. They came from every tribe and long distances to join this NFL football team. He was both a coach and a player at times,
A highly regarded study by Ives Goddard, a senior linguist in the Smithsonian National Museum of History’s Department of Anthropology, has demonstrated the term “redskin” originated as a translation from Native American languages.
Native Americans used the expression extensively for themselves, and throughout the nineteenth century, the term was essentially neutral when used by whites, reflecting neither a particularly positive nor a negative connotation.
In 1967 when the Washington Redskins organization was created bursting onto the scene. The coach was a native American, and was asked to wear a full war bonnet. It was a publicity stunt to bring the crowds into the stadium; however, Native Americans thought it to be over the top concerning sterotyping. They brought a law suit against the NFL team, but the Redskins won the judgement.