List of sports team names and mascots derived from indigenous peoples

List of sports team names and mascots derived from indigenous peoples

The following is a list of sports team names and mascots derived from indigenous peoples, including generically used terms, those named after specific peoples, and words or iconography derived from indigenous languages or traditions. Also see, List of ethnic sports team and mascot names which includes both names derived from peoples indigenous to the area where a sports team is based, as well as names derived from peoples not indigenous to the teams home.

There is considerable controversy over these team names and mascots because various American Indians activist groups view them as disrespectful and offensive. Most notably, the National Congress of American Indians has issued a resolution opposing continued usage of Native team names, mascots and logos. Various tribal entities have also issued resolutions opposing usage, as well.

According to a 2002 Sports Illustrated article (Price, S.L. [ "The Indian Wars"] , March 4, 2002, pp 66-72), 83% of American Indian respondents to a Sports Illustrated poll said that professional teams should not stop using Indian nicknames, mascots or symbols.

Scholarswho have challenged the Sports Illustrated findings on multiple grounds. King, et al. (2002) argue (1) the SI poll is problematic because it serves to distract readers from the history and implications of mascots. (2) The survey features problematic sampling and identification issues produce non-representative and un-generalizable findings (for example, Snipp (1992) writes of the difficulty involved in any quantitative research on American Indians in national polling). (3) SI decontextualizes mascots and the controversy about them. (4) The article discussing the poll concludes that mascots are unproblematic merely because a majority of polled Native people say they are, thus discounting the validity of a critical minority. And (5) the consequences for public debate and social justice are ignored by the poll, which treats the issue as critically as SI treats sports injuries or debate over which teams will make the playoffs.

Team names

American Football

* Kansas City Chiefs (NFL)
* Washington Redskins (NFL)

Association Football (Soccer)

* Indios de Ciudad Juárez


* Atlanta Braves (MLB), originally Boston Braves, then Milwaukee Braves, plus all but one of their minor league affiliates:
** Danville Braves
** Gulf Coast Braves
** Mississippi Braves
** Richmond Braves
** Rome Braves
* Cleveland Indians (MLB), along with two minor league affiliates:
** Gulf Coast Indians
** Kinston Indians
* Indianapolis Indians
* Peoria Chiefs — The Peoria Chiefs no longer use indigenous imagery, instead using imagery related to firefighters.
* Spokane Indians
* Syracuse Chiefs — The team changed its name from "Chiefs" to "SkyChiefs" from 1996–2006, but reverted to "Chiefs" in 2007. Today's Chiefs do not use any imagery related to indigenous peoples, instead using railroad imagery.
* Yaquis de Obregón

Ice Hockey

* Chicago Blackhawks (NHL)
* Portland Winter Hawks
* Spokane Chiefs


* Brooklin Redmen (MSL)
* Burlington Chiefs
* Elora Mohawks
* Exeter Chiefs
* Iroquois Nationals, the men's lacrosse team representing the Iroquois Confederacy in international competition
* Six Nations Chiefs (MSL), a team representing a First Nations reserve in Ontario that is home to members of all six Iroquois nations plus a band of the Lenape (aka Delaware) nation
* St. Regis Indians (MSL), a team representing a Mohawk reservation in New York
* [ Tomahawks Lacrosse Club]


* The Chiefs, a rugby union team representing the central North Island of New Zealand in the Super 14 competition
* New Zealand Māori, a New Zealand rugby union (and formerly rugby league) side whose members must be at least 1/16 Māori
* Northland Taniwha, a rugby team in the Air New Zealand Cup named after a being from Māori mythology
* "The Tomahawks", the official nickname of the United States national rugby league team


* Alcorn State Braves
* Aloha Warriors
* Anadarko Warriors
* Bradley Braves
* Brebeuf Jesuit Braves
* Catawba Indians
* Central Michigan Chippewas
* Chowan Braves
* Conemaugh Township Indians
* Gaffney High School Indians
* Gaffney Middle School Chiefs
* Granard Middle School Warriors
* Florida Southern Moccasins
* Florida State Seminoles
* Hawaiokinai Rainbow Warriors (men) and Rainbow Wahine (women); "Wahine" is the Hawaiian word for "woman"
**Since 2000, each team has been allowed to select its own mascot name; most notably, the football team has been simply known as "The Warriors". See University of Hawaii Athletics for details.
* Hurricane (WV) High School Redskins
* Lake View Warriors
* Macklin Mohawks
* McClymonds Warriors
* Mississippi College Choctaws
* Monacan High School Chiefs
* Monterey YMCA Tribe
* McMurry Indians
* Newberry Indians
* North Dakota Fighting Sioux
* Port Neches-Groves Indians
* Renton High School Indians
* San Diego State Aztecs
* [ Scappoose Indians] , Scappoose High School, Scappoose, Oregon. Scappoose is the Chinook word for the area, meaning gravely plain.
* UNC Pembroke Braves, representing a college originally created to educate American Indians
* Utah Utes
* Warroad Warriors
* William & Mary Tribe — no longer uses any imagery related to indigenous peoples
* Sewanhaka High School Indians


* Mississauga Tomahawks
* [ North Shore Indians]
* [ North Side Tribe]

Defunct names

* Adams State Indians, now the "Grizzlies"
* Akron Indians, defunct National Football League team, formerly the "Pros"
* Arkansas State Indians, now the "Red Wolves"
* Tri-Cities Blackhawks, of what is now the NBA, moved and renamed St. Louis / Atlanta "Hawks," after the bird
* Burlington Indians, now known as the Burlington Royals after affiliating with the Kansas City Royals
* Canton/Akron Indians, a minor league baseball farm team for the Cleveland Indians, moved to Akron and became the "Aeros"
* Carlisle Indians, a school for American Indians that was a college football power in the early 1900s
* Carthage Redmen, reverted to the "Red Men"
* Cleveland Indians of the National Football League, team defunct
* Cumberland Indians, now the Cumberland"s" "Patriots"
**This school was known as Cumberland College until 2005, when it became the University of the Cumberlands. The nickname change came earlier.
* Dartmouth Indians, disused since the 1970s in favor of continuing existing nickname, "Big Green"
* Dickinson State Savages, renamed the "Blue Hawks" in 1972
* Eastern Michigan Hurons, now the "Eagles"
* Eastern Washington Savages, now the "Eagles"
* Flint Indians, team defunct
* Flint Central High School Indians, renamed "Phoenix" in 2005
* Grand Forks Central Redskins, renamed the "Knights"
* Grafton Blackhawks, renamed to "Black Hawks"
* Hartwick Warriors, became the "Hawks" in 1994
* Hermosillo Seris
* Kansas City Scouts of the NHL, moved to Colorado and became the Rockies, now the New Jersey Devils
* Louisiana-Monroe Indians, now the "Warhawks"
* Marquette Warriors, became the "Golden Eagles" in 1994
* UMass Redmen, became the "Minutemen" in 1972 (According to the University, "Redmen" and "Redwomen" referred to the uniforms worn by the atletics teams. It was changed to "Minutemen" and "Minutewomen" out of sensitivity to American Indians.)
* MCLA Mohawks, today the "Trailblazers"
* Mexico City Aztecas
* Miami Redskins, in mid-1997, officially changed their names to the "RedHawks"
* Midwestern State Indians, latterly the "Mustangs" as of the 2006 season
* Monticello High School Redmen, in Monticello, MN, now "Magic"
* Nebraska Wesleyan Plainsmen, today the "Prairie Wolves"
* Oklahoma City U. Chiefs, now the "Stars"
* Oorang Indians, an early NFL entry actually comprised mostly of Native Americans
* Parsippany High School Redskins, Parsippany-Troy Hills, NJ, now the "Redhawks"
* Quinnipiac Braves, became the "Bobcats" in 2002
* St. Bonaventure Brown Indians and Brown Squaws, renamed the "Bonnies" in 1979
* St. John's University (New York City), formerly the "Redmen" , became the "Red Storm" in 1995, to be gender-neutral and to avoid any appearance of racism. The school's website indicates that the name did not refer to American Indians, but to the school color, a bright cardinal red.
* Salisbury Indians, team defunct
* Simpson Redmen and Lady Reds, renamed the "Storm" in 1992
* Southeast Missouri State Indians and Otahkians, renamed the "Redhawks"
* Southeastern Oklahoma State Savages, renamed "Savage Storm" in 2006
* Springfield Indians, moved to Worcester and became the IceCats, then Peoria, Illinois, where they are now the Rivermen
* Seattle U. Chieftains, now the "Redhawks"
* Southern Nazarene Redskins, now the "Crimson Storm"
* Springfield College Chiefs, now the "Pride"
* Stanford Indians, now known as the Stanford "Cardinal" (singular - for the school color, a shade of red)
* Stonehill Chieftains, today the "Skyhawks"
* Syracuse Orangemen, now the Syracuse Orange, once used a mascot called the "Saltine Warrior"
* Tamalpais Indians, became the Tamalpais High School "Red Tailed Hawks" ["sic"] after 1990. [ [ Tamalpais High School official site: History of Tam High, accessed 10/08/2006] ]
* Toronto Tecumseh (OALA Sr A), was the "Tecumseh" in the late 19th century and maybe early 20th; changed to "Toronto Young Torontos" by 1911


* Chief Osceola, Florida State University Seminoles
* Chief Wahoo, Cleveland Indians

Defunct mascots

*Indiana State University's Chief Ouabache and Indian Princess were dropped in 1989
* the Golden State Warriors' "Indian warrior" logo was replaced in 1971
* Marquette University's "Willie Wampum," retired in 1971
* Syracuse University's "Saltine Warrior"
* Kansas City Chiefs horse mascot "Warpaint".
* Chief Brave Spirit, University of Louisiana at Monroe, retired in 2006 (mascot changed from "Indians" to "Warhawks")
* Chief Moccanooga, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga (use of this mascot ended in 1996)
* Chief Noc-A-Homa, Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves (Use of this mascot ended in early 1980s, existed as late as 1983 season)
** Princess Win-A-Lotta, paired with Chief Noc-A-Homa, introduced late 1970s, dropped at same time as Noc-A-Homa
* Chief Illiniwek, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Fictional Teams

* Charlestown Chiefs (Federal Hockey League) ("Slap Shot").
* The Mars Greenskins - Blernsball is the version of baseball in the year 3000 in the show "Futurama".
* NY Mohawks - major league team, "The Seventh Game" by Roger Kahn.
* Warriors - major league team, "Today's Game" by Martin Quigley.
* Warbury Warriors - Stiker comic strip.
* Zucchini Warriors, in the Gordon Korman novel of that name.

"Chief" nickname

It is also common practice to use the nickname "Chief" for indigenous sportsmen. Some notable examples include:
*Charles Albert "Chief" Bender
*John R. "Chief" Bender
*Moses J. "Chief" Yellow Horse
*Louis Francis "Chief" Sockalexis
*Johnny "Chief" Chavis
*George "Chief" Armstrong


King, C. Richard, Ellen J. Staurowsky, Lawrence Baca, Laurel R. Davis, and Cornel Pewewardy 2002. Of Polls and Prejudice: Sports Illustrated’s Errant ‘Indian Wars’. "Journal of Sport & Social Issues" 26 (4), November: 381-402.
* [ Of Polls and Prejudice: Sports Illustrated’s Errant ‘Indian Wars’.]

ee also

* Hail to the Redskins
* List of company and product names derived from Indigenous peoples
* Mascot

External links

* [ National Coalition on Racism in Sports & Media] , from the American Indian Movement
* [ American Indian Sports Team Mascots information site]

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