Indian Names in Michigan
By Virgil J. Vogel
There are also historical references to "Wahoo Indians." Whether this was an actual tribe, a nickname for a tribe, or a nickname for Indians in general is unclear.
From a church posting in Florida:
Organized during 1980's, New Hope United Methodist is probably the oldest church in Citrus County and one of the oldest active churches in Florida.
Our first building was made of logs with the earth used as our floor. Within its walls a pioneer community's needs were met: a school, a town-hall meeting place, and a fortress against Wahoo Indians to be were part of New Hope's beginnings.
Edward's Depot, Miss., June 14, 1846.
Spics, Mulattoes, Quadroons, Octoroons, & Wahoo Indians 8%
It seems the term "Wahoo Indians" was common in the South. I suppose this could've been a neutral term used to distinguish American Indians of the South from Plains Indians, West Indians, or Asian Indians. But it sounds like an offensive label meant to disparage Indians. Perhaps it implied they were a bunch of "wahoo"-yelling wretches, savage and uncivilized.
In any case, I don't know if the term "Wahoo Indians" has any connection to the plants, fish, or yell called wahoo.
I believe we can trace the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo back to the Big Chief Wahoo character in the 1930s comic strip. But I don't know if "Big Chief Wahoo" came from the "Wahoo Indians" or another sense of the word "wahoo."
Finally, the Wahoo game may have debuted around the time of Big Chief Wahoo or the Cleveland Indians' Chief Wahoo. But again I don't know the source of the game's name.