The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate Indianapolis Indians announced on Thursday that the franchise will not change its team name within the next two years.
While making the announcement, the minor league team also broke the news that it has partnered with the Miami Nation Indians of Indiana “as the organization explores and activates programs with the Miami.”
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“The partnership will include a land acknowledgement [sic], recognition of Miami veterans during Native American Heritage Night at Victory Field, support of the Miami scholarship program and fan educational opportunities.,” 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” of wanting the name changed.
“We are grateful to the Indianapolis Indians for the opportunity to share our story with Hoosiers throughout central Indiana,” said Buchanan. “When the history of Indiana is studied, the major 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 are pleased to work with the Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana to help educate our fans about the rich history and culture of its tribe,” added Bruce Schumacher, Indians chairman and CEO. “We look forward to using our platform to educate our fans by acknowledging, uplifting and honoring those upon whose ancestral lands Victory Field is built. We are excited to highlight the Miami Nation and influence of Native American people throughout our state, which means ‘land of the Indians’ and city, which means ‘city of Indians’ at Victory Field this season.”
The team was founded in 1902 and have been the Indians since then.
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Two professional teams have changed their names from racially insensitive terms against indigenous people since 2020 – MLB’s Cleveland organization went from the Indians to the Guardians, and the NFL’s Washington Commanders had previously been the Redskins before going by the Football Team for a season. Both changes came amid outcry, yet the new names have probably garnered even more criticism.
Groups have since 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 a part of the Pirates’ farm system since 2005.
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