Dhe Chicago Blackhawks from the North American professional ice hockey league NHL will not give their name – the franchise now prohibits its fans from wearing traditional Indian headgear. This was announced by the team, whose name originated from an Indian tribe. A former chief was named what Frederic McLaughlin, the first owner of the NHL team, took as inspiration.
“These symbols are sacred, they traditionally belong to the chiefs of their tribes, who enjoy great respect,” said the ice hockey team. This headdress should not be used “as a costume or as everyday clothing”. Unlike the Washington Redskins from the American football league NFL, the Blackhawks will not change their name. The Cleveland Indians from the MLB baseball league are considering renaming themselves.
The names of the teams were recently part of a public debate that had picked up speed in the course of the Black Lives Matter movement. Under public pressure, the Redskins (red skins) dropped their names, the footballers from the American capital will in future be named Washington Football Team.
The debate about club names is also being discussed in rugby. The English League’s Exeter Chiefs are encouraged to drop their name and logo, which features an Indian. There is a petition in fan circles for and against a change. “” Indigenous peoples have repeatedly made it clear that all uses of their images in this way are insulting, harmful and unacceptable, “said the critics. Others claim that the use of the name and symbols testifies to respect for Native Americans.
Exeter has been informally known as Chiefs for about 100 years. The nickname was adopted due to the clubs’ tradition at that time to call their first teams Chiefs. In 1999 a renaming led to the introduction of the current badge and mascot. The club said he looked at both positions to come to a decision on how to deal with the issue.