The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks decided to keep their nickname despite the change of the NFL’s Washington Football Team’s name from the “Redskins” after a long battle with some Native American groups who saw the nickname as an ethnic slur.
The Blackhawks said in a statement Monday the organization would try to find new ways to support the Native American community and one of the commitments the team announced was to read the Indigenous Land Acknowledgement before games during the 2020-21 season.
“To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on, and a way of honoring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial,” the team said.
“It is important to understand the long standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgments do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol.”
This is the message that will be read:
“The Chicago Blackhawks acknowledge that the team, its foundation, and the spaces were maintained, work and compete within, stand upon the traditional homelands of the Miami, Sauk, Fox, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, and the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations. We understand that this land holds immense significance for its original stewards, the Native Nations and peoples of this region.
“We would also like to recognize that our team’s namesake, Sauk War Leader Black Hawk, serves as a continuous reminder of our responsibility to the Native American communities we live amongst and draw inspiration from.”
Additionally, Chicago said it has started to implement more Native American initiatives “centered on education, contemporary art, athletics, and Indigenous food systems” and will continue to do so throughout the upcoming season and beyond.