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Navajo Activist: Cleveland Baseball Team's Name Change A 'Victory' For Indigenous People

Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team is rebranding for the first time since 1915, to the Cleveland Guardians. 

The new name will take effect after the 2021 season, as the team moves on from the word “Indians.”

The team says fans, community leaders, and front-office personnel were consulted on the name change.

Amanda Blackhorse is a Navajo activist who has worked toward the removal of Native Americans as sports mascots. 

She says the name change is a victory for Indigenous people in Cleveland, but that victory took a long fight.

"I think the victory really belongs to the Indigenous people of Cleveland who have been fighting this for decades," said Blackhorse. “Elders have passed, y’know, they’re never gonna see this happen. They’ve committed a lot of time and effort to this, and some people will never see that. That’s how old this issue is."

Blackhorse says the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs and baseball’s Atlanta Braves should see Cleveland’s change as a call to action and follow suit.

The name “Guardians” comes from 40-foot statues on a bridge outside the team’s stadium that have stood for almost 100 years.

The Guardians' spring training home is located in Goodyear. A representative from the city says officials are still in conversation with the team on how to update the team's presence in the city.

Washington Football Team Retires Mascot, Activists Wait For Rebrand

Vaughan Jones is the weekend reporter for KJZZ, and a graduate of ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sports journalism, with a minor in music. As a Phoenix native, Jones’s dream is to serve his community by covering important stories in the metropolitan area.He spent two years as music director at Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. His passion for radio stems from joining Blaze his freshman year as a DJ.When he is not working, Jones can be found writing music with his band, playing video games with his friends, or watching his favorite Phoenix-area sports teams.