Graduate fighting to keep Native American caricature logo

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BAYARD, N.M. (AP) — A graduate of a southwestern New Mexico high school is fighting the state’s lieutenant governor over his call to remove a baseball stadium’s logo of a Native American caricature.

Samantha “Sami” Morales has started a petition aimed at keeping the “Chief Wahoo” logo from the main sign at Cobre High’s baseball stadium in Bayard, New Mexico, the Deming Headlight reports.

She said the logo is a source of pride in the community.

“My father and workers from the mine worked hard on that stadium, and it is something our community can be proud of,” Morales said.

Lt. Gov. Howie Morales recently asked the Cobre Consolidated School District superintendent to remove the logo amid racial injustice protests across the U.S.

A similar logo was used by Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians until 2018.

The logo is offensive to some Native Americans.

“This cartoonish caricature of a Native American in the signage of our own local baseball stadium, used and visited by countless students and families, sends the wrong message to our young people,” the lieutenant governor wrote in a letter earlier this month to Superintendent Robert Mendoza. “In short, it is time for the Chief Wahoo to go.”

Howie Morales coached Cobre’s baseball team to a state title in 2008 and retired shortly after, as he became a state senator representing District 28.

The lieutenant governor said the school’s athletic teams, called the Indians, have a new logo that is not Chief Wahoo, but there’s been no update to the stadium sign.

“The Chief Wahoo logo clearly causes anguish and frustration for many people, especially Native Americans across the United States,” Morales wrote.

Samantha Morales, a 2014 graduate of Cobre High School, said she doesn't agree. She said she and another graduate have collected over 750 signatures on an online petition.

“I follow (the lieutenant governor's) postings and I wondered why he wanted the mascot removed now. Why didn’t he pursue this when he coached here back in the 2000s?” she told the Headlight.


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