SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) — The Skokie Indians Little League organization has been around since the 1950s, and while the league isn’t going anywhere, its name might be.
As CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, a push has been launched to change the name of the team.READ MORE: One Killed, Two Injured In Multiple Car Crash On Dan Ryan Expressway
Louis Mercer is a coach in the Skokie Indians Youth Baseball League. His son, Abe, has been in the league for years.
But Mercer, a U.S. history teacher, said the league has an identity problem.
“Native American iconography should not be culturally appropriated and should not be on our kids’ jerseys,” Mercer said.
Matt Temkin is behind an online petition to change the Skokie Indians’ league name.
“This kind of stereotypical warlike emblem is not really honoring Native Americans at all,” he said.
The petition had more than 900 signatures as of Wednesday night.
“We feel like we have some wind behind us to get this changed,” Temkin said.READ MORE: United Center COVID-19 Vaccination Site To Switch To Single-Shot Johnson & Johnson Vaccine
The push at the Little League level follows similar change in the pros – the Washington Redskins changed their name to the Washington football team, the Cleveland Indians dropped its logo and soon will have a new name.
At the college level, the University of Illinois retired its Chief Illinwek mascot in 2007.
The National Congress of American Indians says native American images and logos in sports only perpetuates negative stereotypes
“I think at the end of the day, it’s inevitable that we will probably end up changing,” said Pancho Espinoza, president of the Skokie Indians League.
Espinoza said before the petition and mounting pressure, he was in favor of keeping the Indians name.
“I probably would have told you I’m more with respect to keeping the name because of the history of it and the community of it,” Espinoza said. “We all understand, too, it’s a change of times.”
“Skokie talks about being a welcoming place for everyone, and we want to see that be true,” Temkin said.MORE NEWS: At Least 24 People Shot, 3 Killed In Gun Violence In Chicago This Weekend
The Skokie Indians are an independent league, but do partner with the Skokie Park District. A park district spokesperson said they support a name change.