Why I Chose To De-Wahoo My Indians Jersey

KODAK Digital Video CameraBy David G. Firestone

I am a uniform enthusiast. That has never been in question. I have always loved sports uniforms, and have a large number of them in my personal collection. I happen to have a 1976 Dennis Eckersley throwback jersey. I made a decision concerning this jersey that even a few people who know me might not understand. I decided to remove the Chief Wahoo patch from the left sleeve.

This is in response to a recent discussion concerning Native American team names. Do we keep the Native American name and imagery despite the fact that many people find them offensive, or do we change the Native American name and imagery and change the tradition of the teams? Basically I have decided to “de-Wahoo” my jersey for a number of reasons. Obviously since it is a racial issue, it was an easy decision, but this is a bit more personal for me.

I went to DePaul University in Chicago, and during my spring breaks, I went on what are referrred to as “service immersions.” We would travel to a specific location, live with a group, and work with the local residents to make life better for people. I did everything from building decks, to tutoring New York City students. But the first two trips I went on helped me made this decision

The first trip I went on was to Brainered Minnesota in March 2001, where we, in conjunction with Habitat For Humanity worked on houses for a week on the Mille Lacs Reservation. We got to know the locals, we conversed, and I had a great time and grew as a person. That was the first of what turned out to be many trips.

Established in 1855, the Mille Lacs Reservation is located about 100 miles north of Minneapolis–Saint Paul, at the at the southern end of Mille Lacs Lake and composes about 60,975 acres. It is home to many of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe as well as the Mississippi River Band of Chippewa Indians.

My second trip took place in November 2001, two months after the 9/11 Attacks. We flew during my winter break to San Carlos Arizona, and spent two weeks in the San Carlos Apache reservation. It was supposed to be that each of us would spend one week working in the classroom at St. Charles School, where we were also staying, and one week working on fixing a house. As fate would have it, I had messed up my ankle before we left, and I was unable to work on the house. I spent two weeks working in the 2nd grade class at St. Charles. It was, without a doubt, the most meaningful thing in my life.

The reservation is located in southeastern Arizona, was established by President Grant in 1872, is on 2,910.7 square miles. It is bigger than the state of Rhode Island, which has 1544.89 square miles. It is located in a remote desert area, surrounded by a ring of mountains. There are areas of the reservation where non-Native Americans are not allowed to go, and then there are areas where no humans are allowed to go. The area is very economically poor, with many people barely able to make ends meet.

Initially I was nervous, having no experience in working with 2nd graders, but those fears would be unfounded, as I worked with the kids well. There were bout 20 kids in the class, some more rambunctious than others. I worked with them, helped out in the classroom, and got to know them, and their culture. I was able to accompany a group of dancers to a show in a shopping mall, and for many of these kids, this was the first time they had ever been to a mall. They had never been on an escalator before, and it took a bit of coaxing to get them to use it. Those children were a perfect example of the human spirit. These kids came from little money, but they were proud of who they were and had hope for the future. Two weeks went by and we had to go back to Chicago, but I still carry part of San Carlos and Brainered in my heart.

That is why I decided to de-Wahoo my jersey. My experiences in Minnesota and Arizona were so influential, and I have too much respect for the Native American to keep an image like that on a uniform. I have also made the decision to no longer wear my Chicago Blackhawks jerseys for the same reason.

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5 Comments

  1. WAHOO 4 LIFE

    • Interesting that the very first comment to this post, which is a really personal account as to why the author doesn’t feel he can *personally* wear the Wahoo logo, is someone who just wants to be an asshole about it.

      That’s the conflict in a nutshell, huh?

      • I have the choice of approving or disapproving comments. I decided to allow the first comment because I realized he feels the same way about his side of the argument as I feel about mine. Just because someone disagrees with me does not make them wrong if they have a valid point.

  2. Moron!

  3. I guess you are ok with the Indians name (at least for now).They are also going after the names ,not just images.


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