The Indianapolis Indians, the Triple-A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates, announced Thursday that the franchise will not change its team name for the next two years.
In making the announcement, the minor league team also broke the news that it has partnered with Indiana’s Miami Nation Indians «as the organization explores and activates programs with Miami.»
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«The society will include a survey of land [sic]recognition of Miami veterans during Native American Heritage Night at Victory Field, support of Miami’s scholarship program and educational opportunities for fans,» the team said in a statement.
Brin Buchanan, the Chief of the Miami Nation Indians of Indiana, said he has «encouraged the team to remain the Indianapolis Indians» and does not «understand» the «reasoning» for wanting to change the name.
«We are grateful to the Indianapolis Indians for the opportunity to share our history with Hoosiers throughout Central Indiana,» Buchanan said. «When studying Indiana’s history, the greatest Native American influence is seen in the names of Indiana’s cities, state parks, rivers, food, celebrations, and other cultural highlights.»
«We are pleased to work with the Indiana Nation of Indians of Miami to help educate our fans about the rich history and culture of their tribe,» added Bruce Schumacher, Indians president and CEO. «We look forward to using our platform to educate our fans by recognizing, uplifting and honoring those on whose ancestral land Victory Field was built. We are excited to highlight the Nation of Miami and the influence of Native Americans across our state, which means’ Indian land and city, meaning ‘town of the Indians,’ at Victory Field this season.»
The team was founded in 1902 and has been the Indians ever since.
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Two professional teams have changed their names from racially insensitive anti-Indigenous terms since 2020: MLB’s Cleveland organization transitioned from the Indians to the Guardians, and the NFL’s Washington Commanders had previously been the Redskins before moving to the team. football for one season. Both changes came amid protests, but the new names have likely drawn even more criticism.
Since then, the groups have called on other teams like the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs, Chicago Blackhawks and Florida State Seminoles to follow suit.
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The Indians have been part of the Pirates’ farm system since 2005.