A group called Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry (EONM) wants Nike to stop selling Cleveland Indians Chief Wahoo products and has been going back and forth with the company about the issue.
On May 1, EONM protested the products outside of Nike headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon. This is not the only action that EONM has taken. They also started a twitter campaign, featuring the hashtag #Dechief and launched a “twitterstorm” event to highlight the issue. The hashtag has been widely used by those who oppose Native mascots, including many American Indians.
The #Dechief campaign was inspired by Cleveland Indians fan Dennis Brown, who removed the Chief Wahoo logo from his Indians jersey and posted a photo on twitter, EONM founding member Jacqueline Keeler told USA today.
A few days after the May 1 protest, Nike released a statement responding to EONM’s criticism, citing their contractual obligation to Major League Baseball as the licensing agent for whatever team marks MLB teams choose, according to Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN). The statement also mentioned that the Cleveland Indians are “engaging their fans and the local community in conversation concerning their logo,” according to ICTMN.
Nike’s statement additionally talked about their “long history of supporting the Native American community.” The company runs the N7 fund, which provides grants to Native communities to support sports, according to ICTMN.
As of May 8, EONM was sending out emails as part of another digital campaign against Nike’s Chief Wahoo products. This time, they were soliciting people to sign a petition telling Nike to stop selling items bearing the offensive Native mascot.
In the emails, Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry highlighted the disconnect between Nike’s “stated commitment to diversity and inclusion,” and the Chief Wahoo products, and asked people to join them in telling Nike to “stop profiting from racist images and slogans.”
Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry’s plan is to target companies that produce offensive team gear, starting with Nike, according to the Sacramento Bee. This suggests the campaigns calling out Nike are only the start of EONM’s work.
If interested, you can read or sign the EONM petition to Nike.