The Bangor Daily News tells the story of the first Native American major league baseball player, a member of Maine’s Penobscot Nation. It is not pretty.
Here’s a bit; follow the link for the rest.
The response from the crowd 123 years ago (when he first took the field–ed.), however, was far from laudatory. Instead, Sockalexis was met with shouted racial slurs, demeaning “war whoops,” and fans doing “war dances” every time he took the field. Fans would ask him if he was drinking firewater, something that became ever more cruel over the course of his career, during which his alcoholism worsened.
That legacy of racist language and iconography lived on after Sockalexis, and in 1915 the team that was known as the Cleveland Spiders became the Cleveland Indians — a name that the team and its fans claim was chosen to honor Sockalexis and Native people in general, but in reality had a far more complicated, racist origin.