The Spokane Indians were honored yesterday at baseball’s annual Fall Meetings with the 2023 CommUNITY Champion Award in recognition of the team’s continuing commitment to the Spokane region.
“As the community’s baseball team since 1903, we’re proud to serve our entire area with several community campaigns, initiatives, and events,” said Otto Klein, Spokane Indians Senior Vice President. “We’re honored to call Spokane home, and committed to improving our community for years to come.”
Professional baseball has a long and storied history in Spokane, and after 37 years as a short-season affiliate in the Northwest League, the Indians returned to full season ball in 2021. The club has taken advantage of the longer season to extend its impact in the Spokane community through a variety of programs and initiatives.
As a leader in the Spokane community, the Indians have acknowledged the importance of respect and inclusion with the team’s namesake, the Spokane Tribe of Indians, setting an example for respectful relationships with Native communities in sports.
Their efforts to collaborate with the tribe include an annual Native Culture Day at Avista Stadium, which in 2023 included a ceremonial first pitch by Junior Miss Spokane and Spokane Tribal Member, Arawyn Dillon, and the singing of the National Anthem by Spokane Tribal Member Dakota Moses, who performed the song in Salish.
In 2022, the team and Tribe worked together to develop an official Land Acknowledgement (believed to be the first of its kind in Minor League Baseball), recognizing that Avista Stadium resides on the unceded homeland of the Spokane Tribe of Indians, and in 2023, a permanent marker featuring this land acknowledgement was installed just outside the main gates in the Hall of Fame plaza.
The club also honors those local roots on the field as their jerseys have Spokane written in Salish (Sp’q’n’i), and after the Spokane Tribe’s own Wellpinit Boys Basketball Team won their first Washington 1B State Championship, each player received an Indians jersey and participated in a celebratory pre-game ceremony at Avista Stadium.
While their efforts with the Spokane Tribe are important to the club and community, the Indians are active participants in the greater Spokane community all year long.
In 2017, the Indians launched the Redband Rally campaign with the City of Spokane to bring awareness to the native Redband Rainbow Trout. The…