Whatever one thinks of Chief Wahoo, the face of the Cleveland Indians, one must find remarkable how little talk there is about a Curse of Chief Wahoo here in Cleveland, the city suffering the longest and arguably most painful championship drought in major American professional sports. . . . [I]f the Boston Red Sox had to endure an 86 year curse for trading Babe Ruth, and if the Chicago Cubs have been cursed for the last 63 years simply because they wouldnt let a Greek bring his Billy Goat to a ballgame, why dont more believe that the Indians, if not all Cleveland franchises, have been cursed for what many view as a hateful affront to the entirety of Native American culture and a callous disrespect for the beginnings of American history The answer to this question lies in understanding that for a great many, if not most, Indians fans, Chief Wahoo represents something entirely different. It is long past time for us to come to terms with the Chief. This will not happen until the activists and others who are so convinced of Wahoos evil can understand the good that he represents to so many others. . . .
[O]ne must . . .understand that for so many Tribe fans, Wahoo represents the very best of Take me out to the Ballgame. [As we approached the old Municipal Stadium we saw] the 35-foot tall neon-lit Chief Wahoo of glass and steel, perched atop the southeast corner of the Stadium roof, eyes gleaming, smile beaming, bat cocked, leg raised, ready to knock the next pitch all the way back down to Youngstown. And we didnt think of Native Americans, or any kind of person at all. All of the magic of the trip to the ballpark coalesced in that smiling slugging alien angel of joy as we entered the Stadium gates. And then there was the magic of the ballgame itself, with Wahoo smiling in approval all the while -- from the stadium roof, our heroes uniforms, and seemingly everywhere else. . . .
[But, n]ative voices have told us loudly and clearly that Wahoo offends; and given his origins and singular status among racial caricatures in America, it is not at all hard to see how this might be true. If there is at least one Native in this country for whom Wahoo reasonably reinforces a belief that her or his race is invisible or subhuman -- thus making it even a little bit harder to engage in lifes everyday struggle -- isnt that enough to bring a curse on our sports teams It sure seems worse than trading Babe Ruth or banning goats from a ballpark. So why would we even want to take this chance Havent we all had enough of the exquisitely painful losing There are a lot of Natives buried in these parts. If its not the Curse of Chief Wahoo, what else could it be What else would we want it to be At least a Curse of Chief Wahoo makes sense. At least its a curse that we might do something to end. . . .
So lets not hesitate in giving Wahoo a dignified burial. In doing so, we should recognize that while Wahoo might have been born out of something bad, he turned into something very good for many of us. We should acknowledge the complexity of the lives of both persons and personifications. And we should acknowledge progress. We need not abandon the name Indians, and we have no shortage of persons indigenous to Northeast Ohio who might serve as worthy models for a new logo; one that truly honors Native Americans. . . .
[Please sign this] online petition to help end the Curse of Chief Wahoo and help bring a championship to Cleveland.
Read the entire piece (with hyperlinked references) on why we should end the curse here: http://www.clevelandfrowns.com/2008/06/curse-of-chief-wahoo.html
Cleveland Frowns www.clevelandfrowns.com
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