Spokane baseball team works with tribes over name, logo

Vince Devlin, Buffalo Post

Washington State Sen. Andy Billig can do nothing about the controversy surrounding the NFL Washington Redskins’ nickname other than have an opinion.

The Salish language version of the Spokane Indians' logo (ICTMN)

The Salish language version of the Spokane Indians’ logo (ICTMN)


But, as co-owner of the Spokane Indians minor league baseball team, he is in position to deal with any problems Native Americans may have with that name.

Indian Country Today Media Network reports Billig has.

In 2006, the Spokane Indians organization began exploring options for a new team logo and met with the Spokane Tribe of Indians tribal council and the tribe’s culture committee. Through that eight-month process, the baseball organization came up with a new logo depicting a red “S” with an eagle feather accent.

The baseball team worked with five tribes in the Spokane area through the Upper Columbia United Tribes and specifically with the Spokane Tribe of Indians since its name is derived directly from their nation.

“We use no Native American imagery associated with our team,” Billig said. “We told the Spokane tribe, ‘If we need to change our name because it is offending people in our community, we will consider that. How could we not consider changing the name of it’s offensive?”

Reporter Rodney Harwood says because the team conducted itself in a respectful manner, the Spokane Tribe of Indians came up with new logos in both English and the Salish language, which is the regional language of the Spokane, Coeur d’Alene, Colville and Kalispell nations.

The baseball team will use the Salish logo as its major imagery on home uniforms in 2014.

“I learned so much during this process,” Billig told Harwood and ICTMN. “This collaboration with the Spokane Tribe is the greatest accomplishment of my professional career with the team. It encompassed so much of what we’re about as an organization and a community. It was about respect and there was this added bonus: it was good for business even though that’s not what we went into it for.”

Billig’s opinion on Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder’s refusal to change the team’s name? “Of course the name is wrong,” he said.

Tribes keep language alive

Recent conference led by the Kalispels draws hundreds of participants

March 14, 2013 in Washington Voices

By Cindy Hval  of The Spokesman-Review


The unmistakable melody of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” filled the packed room at the Pavilion at Northern Quest Resort and Casino. A trio of women took the stage, executing the iconic dance moves as the lead singer, sequined hat, one glove and all, belted out the song.

The tune was familiar but the words were not.

That’s because the song was performed in Salish at the Salish Karaoke Contest on March 6 during the Celebrating Salish Conference.

More than 400 tribal members from across the Northwest registered to attend the three-day conference. They had much to celebrate. Just a few years ago, the Salish language languished in near oblivion.

Read more here

Watch the videos; participants from the conference have uploaded videos of the Salish Karaoke Contest from this year and previous years onto YouTube.