Youth baseball teams raising money to change name from Indians

Posted at 3:09 PM, Nov 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-10 17:43:20-05

ALVINSTON, Ontario (WXYZ) -- The Alvinston Indians play in a town (about an hour or so north of Detroit) close to a handful of First Nations reserves in Ontario. They've decided that next year they will not longer be called the Indians.

"When the Toronto Blue Jays were playing the Cleveland Indians in the playoffs, there was a court hearing in Ontario about the use of the name the Indians. That kind of got me thinking about maybe a potential name change, and it’s been something that’s been in our minds for a couple years really," explains association president Andy Triest.

During the 2016 MLB playoffs, some broadcasters refused to say the name Indians on television. This group of teams in Alvinston is taking it a step further. They've made a Go Fund Me page with the goal of raising $29,000 to pay for new uniforms, bags, hats and signage. 

They surpassed that goal in less than six days, and will use any addition donations to help give other kids in the community a chance to play baseball if they couldn't otherwise afford it.

"Everyone should have fun playing baseball. They shouldn’t have to worry about someone else’s name or logo," says 12-year-old Connor Cumming. 

Triest says there was a little bit of negative pushback from the community at first. He says that is inevitable when faced with changing traditions, but Triest says he was impressed with the reaction of the players. They expressed a desire to show respect and make sure all of the kids they play with feel comfortable and included.

"There’s a little bit of an education piece at the start, but once we explained why were doing it -- with the main issue being respect -- I think that it was well received and I think that the kids got behind it. I think they could easily put themselves in someone else’s shoes," says Triest. "I think it’s important to set a precedent and I'm glad we were the ones to take the dive and make a difference."

To donate to the Alvinston Indians and their name change, visit their Go Fund Me page.