Yes, Chief Wahoo will be gone from Indians uniforms, but he should not be forgotten.
He should not be forgotten by those who have felt the burden of bigotry and oppression in a world that often dismisses their pain as trivial.
He should not be forgotten by those who resent being told they loved an icon that was offensive, as if their childhood fantasies and delights were base and immoral.
He should not be forgotten by those who know they have a native American heritage, however distant, but often can find no one in their community to share their history and traditions.
He should not be forgotten by those who find themselves standing up against friends and associates who call them racist because they see Wahoo as a vulgar slight rather than a cartoon.
But it is time for Wahoo to retire and stand out of sight and out of mind while all of us let time try to give us perspective and wisdom.
We couldn’t agree on what Wahoo’s grin meant. We could not agree on what he used to represent and what he means to us now. We as a community never managed to settle on whether he was a welcome member of our community or an embarrassing guest to be covered up or hidden in certain settings.
Wahoo had his time, his day in the sun, his chance to be a unifying figure.
Maybe Wahoo should come back in special times. We need to remember that we had these debates, even if we never came to agree. Some of us will remember pain; others will laugh and talk of silliness.
Many in the future will fail to understand this debate, never having engaged in it firsthand. And that’s as it should be because the debates about Chief Wahoo never enlightened us, never made all of us happy or sad. Wahoo just got old.
So Wahoo needs to go where all old things go – into retirement. Trot him out on the field on some future summer day when people need to remember how things used to be, how people used to think and hate and scold and cheer.
Maybe people in the future will have the wisdom to deal with it constructively.
We never did.