Despite recent public outcry, the Chicago Blackhawks plan on keeping their name and logo.
With Washington’s football team and the Cleveland Indians each deciding to reconsider their team names and logos, all eyes turned to the Chicago Blackhawks. However, it doesn’t look like they’ll be changing their name or logo anytime soon.
On Tuesday, July 7, the team released a statement, saying they plan on keeping their name and logo, while pledging to expand awareness about Black Hawk, the namesake of their team.
The Blackhawks’ name comes from an infantry division from World War 1. Back in the 1920s, they were sold to Frederic McLaughlin, who is best known as being a coffee tycoon in Chicago. McLaughlin was a commander with the 333rd Machine Gun Batallion, which was a part of the 86th Infantry Division during World War 1. The division was nicknamed “the Blackhawk Division”.
This name comes from Black Hawk, an Indigenous member of the Sawk Nation. He’s best known for being the first Indigenous person to have an autobiography published. Black Hawk was also a war leader and is well known for his accomplishments.
Until 1986, the Chicago Blackhawks were known as the Chicago Black Hawks. It wasn’t until someone discovered on an original contract that there wasn’t a space between “black” and “hawks” that they changed their name.
The Blackhawks haven’t faced nearly as much opposition to their nickname or logo as Washington’s football team or the Indians. That’s likely for several reasons. First of all, the Blackhawks are named after an individual instead of an entire tribe or people. Secondly, their logo, while offensive, isn’t as offensive as the logos of Washington’s football team or the Indians.
That said, they have faced past criticism. Numerous Indigenous tribes have been vocal about their disagreement about the Blackhawks’ name and logo. Most of the controversy, though, has stemmed from their logo.
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Though the Blackhawks plan on doing more to honor Black Hawk and raise awareness about the important contributions of all Indigenous people, they are still facing quite a bit of backlash from the public. The team plans on keeping their name and logo for now, but don’t be surprised if things change quickly.