Chicago (AFP) – The Chicago Blackhawks have refused to change their name but on Wednesday the National Hockey League club banned supporters from wearing Native American headdresses at games.
The Blackhawks were Stanley Cup champions in 2010, 2013 and 2015 and have used the nickname and profile logo of a Native American warrior since the team was founded in 1926.
“We have always maintained an expectation that our fans uphold an atmosphere of respect, and after extensive and meaningful conversations with our Native American partners, we have decided to formalize those expectations,” the team said in a statement.
“Moving forward, headdresses will be prohibited for fans entering Blackhawks-sanctioned events or the United Center when Blackhawks home games resume.
“These symbols are sacred, traditionally reserved for leaders who have earned a place of great respect in their Tribe, and should not be generalized or used as a costume or for everyday wear.”
The move follows the NFL’s Washington Redskins dropping the nickname and logo, calling themselves Washington Football Team temporarily until a new name is selected, and Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians conducting a revue on the future of the nickname.
The Blackhawks said earlier this month they do not plan a name change because the name and logo pay tribute to a specific person, Black Hawk, and his legacy as a Native American leader in the region.
The team also said Wednesday it plans to build a Native American culture and storytelling platform, enhance community engagement and game presentation recognition of Native American contributions to society.
The team also plans to establish a “state-of-the-art new wing at Trickster Cultural Center, the only Native American owned and operated arts institution in the state of Illinois.”