Regarding the article about Chief Wahoo in the August issue (“Iconic Cleveland,” August 2009), Ed Pershey of the Western Reserve Historical Society stated, “It’s obviously an extremely racist image.”
The Historical Society has never publicly referred to Chief Wahoo as racist. The strongest term they’ve ever used is “controversial.” It would have been very hard to justify presenting such an “extremely racist” artifact right in the entrance hall.
He also implies that the chief “reflects the attitudes of the early 1950s in terms of portraying Native Americans.” If only. Look around. There has been NO change in attitude since the 1950s. Wahoo is more prevalent than ever. He then states that the expected protests never happened. If he will check the record, he’ll find that the protests started before the sign was installed in the museum.
That’s why the WRHS agreed to install placards in front of the exhibit explaining the opposition from local Native American groups. They met the issue head-on with placards and Post-It notes, but only in response to the “protests that never came.” So that should take care of it, right? Don’t worry. Be happy.
David Currie Euclid
Your story about the “20 Icons That Define Us” goes from the sublime Terminal Tower to the ridiculous Free Stamp. How can that thing we rejected be an icon for us? Where’s the river? Where’s the lake?
Mel Maurer Westlake
Are You Interesting? We’re interested. Every year, we recognize the city’s Most Interesting People — from those who are doing the extraordinary and the exciting to those who are making a substantial contribution to life here. Make your nomination today by visiting clevelandmagazine.com/MIPS. Then look for this year’s honorees in our January 2010 issue.