Spokane's Other Indians, A Baseball Story

Avoiding Stereotypes, Building Bridges

Spokane's own professional baseball team has undergone a lot of changes since 1903!

Spokane's baseball club first went by the moniker "Indians" in 1903, following a Spokesman-Review contest. The contest winner actually chose to call them the "Spokane Inlanders," but the newspaper inexplicably changed it to "Indians" a few weeks later.

Early in their career as the Indians, there was not much Native American imagery. This was in keeping with other teams in the Pacific Northwest League at the time, which all had rather plain jerseys and logos. By 1909, native imagery had crept into their printed materials, and by 1914 a man dressed in Native American regalia is seen performing a ceremony on the baseball mound.

When Avista Stadium was built in 1958, it had teepees for ticket booths. This changed as the baseball team decided to become more culturally sensitive. In 1993 when they debut their first official mascot, they introduced OTTO, a blue Spokanasaurus devoid of any Native American imagery. Renovations to the stadium in the 1990s also saw the removal of the teepee ticket booths.

The biggest gesture made by the team was in 2006 when the Spokane Indians worked with the Spokane Tribe to design a logo in Salish, the native language of the Spokane. Fan and Tribe reception was positive, and in 2014, the Indians proudly released jerseys with the Salish logos on them, becoming the first professional sports team to feature non-English characters on an official uniform.

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