Indianapolis Indians to keep team name and partnership with local tribe | baseball

The Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, will not change their team’s nickname, the organization announced. The minor league baseball team also said it will partner with a local Native American tribe.

The 121-year-old club made the announcements in a press release on Wednesday, saying it will partner with the Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana.

“The partnership will include land recognition, recognition of Miami veterans during the Native American Heritage Night at Victory Field, support of the Miami Scholarship Program and educational opportunities for fans,” the statement said.

The Indians said they would not change their name despite mounting pressure at a time of reckoning with racial injustice, iconography and racism in the United States.

“The team name, which has been the Indianapolis Indians since 1902, will remain the same through the 2023 and 2024 seasons as the organization explores and activates programs with Miami,” according to the statement.

Indiana’s nation of Miami Indians is one of the top 100 largest tribes in the US, the team said. Tribe chief Brian Buchanan released a statement about the new partnership.

“We are grateful to Indianapolis Indians for the opportunity to share our story with Hoosiers across Central Indiana,” said Buchanan. “When Indiana’s history is studied, the greatest influence of Native American people is seen in the names of Indiana cities, state parks, rivers, food, celebrations and other cultural points of interest. We encourage the team to remain the Indianapolis Indians.”

The move away from Native American nicknames, mascots, and logos began in earnest when the NCAA announced in August 2005 that it would ban the use of any images and names deemed racially or ethnically “hostile” or “abusive” in postseason tournaments. It has gained momentum in recent years with the push for social justice reform in America.

The NFL’s Washington franchise announced it would drop its old Redskins moniker, while Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team switched from the Indians to the Guardians.

Indianapolis Indians first announced that they would form a committee to consider a name change in 2020, issuing a two-paragraph statement that said the name is derived from Indiana, which translates to “land of the Indians,” and Indianapolis, which the team said translates as “city of the Indians”.

“We understand that our team name has not been endorsed by some, but we trust that they understand the historical and respectful context in which it has been used over the years,” the statement reads. “We are committed to engaging, listening and exchanging ideas.”

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