Spokane Indians roll out a new campaign to rally fans around the team
Hard fighting. Resilient. Part of Spokane’s identity. When the vice president of the Spokane Indians baseball team heard these words during a conversation last summer, he could have sworn they were talking about his players.
Instead, Otto Klein found himself deep in discussion about a fish.
In search of a new mascot to rally fans at the bottom of the sixth inning, Klein and his team sat down last year to think about what was important to the Indians and the city of Spokane not to mention the Spokane Tribe, whom the team endeavors to include and honor in many of its promotions. Inspired by the city’s recent investments in conserving and caring for the river, Klein said he looked to the river habitat for something that would speak to the community.
That’s how, in conversation with Brent Nichols, the fisheries program manager for the Spokane Tribe, Klein learned about the redband rainbow trout and knew he found his mascot.
“The more I really talked with people, they told me that this is Spokane’s signature fish,” he said. “We don’t have salmon in our river anymore, but we do have this vibrant redband trout and that’s what we should celebrate.”
## ## The redband trout is native to Spokane and historically comprised a significant part of the Spokane tribe’s diet. Though not threatened, the redband population concerns conservationists because it has struggled to return to historic levels due to invasive predatory species and the impact of the Grand Coulee Dam.
Spokane’s signature fish continues to struggle as new campaign raises awareness
The redband trout isn’t considered an endangered or threatened species, though some conservation groups argue it should be. In a statement, Condon said the Indians’ new promotional campaign highlights the work the city is doing to improve the river’s health in a way that will connect with “our youth who will be responsible for caring for our river well into the future.”
The jerseys are a shimmery blue reminiscent of the river, marked down the sides with the black and red speckles of the redband. On one arm, the traditional Indians logo in Salish, and on the other a newly designed logo of a jumping trout.