Paul Chaat Smith, one of the curators of “Americans,” a new exhibit at Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian is unambiguous in his thoughts about Chief Wahoo, the symbol which, it was recently announced, will be removed from the Cleveland Indians baseball uniforms by 2019. “[I]t’s an outrageous, racist caricature,” he tells Smithsonian.com. “And what’s worse is that in the city of Cleveland in Northern Ohio, it’s really the only visible representation you see of Native Americans … That’s where it becomes this very insidious phenomenon that puts Indians completely in the past as a caricature.”
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“Since 1948, the Cleveland Indians’ uniforms have been adorned with the team’s official logo: a cartoonish, grinning Native American man known to fans as ‘Chief Wahoo,’” writes Brigit Katz for Smithsonian Magazine. This past Monday, however, Major League Baseball (MLB) commissioner Rob Manfred announced that the symbol will be removed from Cleveland uniforms by 2019, when Cleveland hosts the All-Star Game. “Chief Wahoo will also no longer be seen on banners and signs at Progressive Field, the Indians’ stadium,” Katz notes.