Changes vary for removal of Indigenous imagery from non-Indigenous sports organizations

MISSISSAUGA — Two junior hockey team logos are no longer displayed at centre ice in Brockville, Ontario.

The Brockville Braves and Brockville Tikis are part of the same hockey organization, with the Braves being the “A” squad and the Tikis the “B” squad. The Braves logo resembles the emblem of the Chicago Blackhawks, while the Tikis logo has a stylized illustration of a man holding a spear as the jersey crest.

The city cited a directive from the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) that relates to a 2018 settlement about removing Indigenous-themed sports branding from non-Indigenous sports organizations.

The municipal arena no longer shows the painting after the city decided their depiction of Indigenous themes do not align with the municipality’s human rights obligations. The City of Brockville will be offering support to any city teams that choose to rebrand and this includes help with costs and facilitating consultations.

However, in Mississauga, a Blackhawks team is still using the name. Nearly three years after the Ontario Human Rights Commission pushed the City of Mississauga to remove all Indigenous imagery related to non-Indigenous teams from its sports facilities, the Greater Toronto Hockey League said that the Mississauga Blackhawks are the league’s last team with an Indigenous name and logo.

Amid growing calls to action around Truth and Reconciliation and cultural appropriation, the City of Mississauga says its policy — which was developed to meet the requirements of a settlement made by the OHRC — will not permit the display of Indigenous images in the city’s sports facilities related to non-Indigenous sports organizations. The settlement addressed the harmful impact of stereotypes and imagery on Indigenous youth and people.

It was noted that the Blackhawks are outside of the city’s jurisdiction for the policy, but the team will be making the change in the near future.

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