This past summer, the Chicago Blackhawks stressed that they were not going to change their team’s identity.
Back in early July, certain professional sports franchises such as the NFL’s Washington Redskins and CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos took action in changing their team name, while other professional sports clubs such as the NHL’s Blackhawks announced their intentions of leaving things status quo.
“The Chicago Blackhawks’ name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Ilinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,” the team said in a statement. The Blackhawks did however make a change in banning fans from sporting a headdress to the games.
During a time, which has seen racial tensions rising rapidly around the globe, another ugly incident occurred on Monday, October 12, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, when the iconic Chicago Blackhawks statue, which is situated on Madison Street just outside of the United Center was in the early morning, vandalized by a mixture of bright orange paint, spray paint and graffiti.
This eye- catching statue of the team’s proud Native American chief Black Hawk logo, also had various messages such as “Land back,” along with “Decolonize Zhigaagoong” spay-painted.
Various pictures of the vandalized symbolic Black Hawk statute were circulated on twitter under the handle @zhigaagoong.
“We recognize there is a fine line between respect and disrespect, and we commend other teams for their willingness to engage in that conversation,” The Blackhawks said in a prepared statement last July about not changing their team name. “Moving forward, we are committed to raising the bar even higher to expand awareness of Black Hawk and the important contribution of all Native American people.”
According to the Chicago Police Department, detectives are investigating but no arrests at this time have been made.
Meanwhile in a statement the Blackhawks organization said
“Over the weekend, the sculpture on Madison Street outside the United Center was vandalized. It is currently under tarp for protection and will be sent off to be repaired in the near future.”
Over the years, this NHL’s Original Six team has faced all sorts of criticism and growing pressure to change the team’s logo.
In fact, Chicago’s American Indian Center came out with a statement last year stating,
(cutting) “Professional ties with the Blackhawks, or any other organization that perpetuates harmful stereotypes. We see this as necessary to sustain a safe, welcoming environment for members of our community as well as protecting our cultural identity and traditions.”
The statute which has come to symbolize Chicago Black Hawks hockey, has been a landmark outside of United Center ever since the year 2000.