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13 WTHR Indianapolis | Indianapolis Local News & Weather

Indianapolis Indians to explore name change

Indianapolis' minor league team has formed a committee to explore other name options, while also gathering community input.

INDIANAPOLIS — NOTE: The attached video is from an earlier story with the American Indian Center of Indiana about the Indianapolis Indians name.

The Indianapolis Indians have formed a committee to explore a name change.
A statement from the team reads in part: "Knowing that the appropriateness of our team name is being questioned, we will be forming a committee to explore it while also gathering community input. As background, the name is derived from our state, Indiana, which means 'Land of the Indians' and our city, Indianapolis, which means 'City of Indians.'"

The team said it hopes people understand the "historic and respectful context in which it has been used."

The American Indian Center of Indiana is calling for the team to choose a new name.

"This is a moment where people should remember whether they decided to be on the right side of history or not," said Executive Director Carolina Castoreno-Santana, who is also a member of the Lipan-Apache Tribe of Texas.

The center said the team has made changes in the past and is hoping it will do it again.

"They did make the step in 1995 of removing the racist kind of caricature that they had of indigenous people as their mascot, but the name for the mascot remains," Castorena-Santana explained. "But the reason is, all of the imagery that is tied to that reduces our people to a mascot and to an image that is in the past," she added.

RELATED: Organization representing Native Americans plans to ask Indianapolis Indians to change its name