Canucks say they've received support from First Nations over orca logo

A member of the Vancouver Canucks staff brings the teams bags to their dressing room at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. (Jonathan Hayward/CP)

The Vancouver Canucks say they've received support from First Nations communities amid accusations of cultural appropriation as part of a recent backlash over the team's orca logo.

"We consult with the First Nations on many issues around our teams and businesses, and value their wise counsel. (Most recently, we collaborated on the Vancouver Warriors lacrosse team branding)," said Canucks owner Francesco Aquilini in a statement Wednesday.

"We understand that not everyone embraces the Canucks logo but are very pleased that so many people do, including our First Nations friends. We're grateful for this show of support, and all the positive feedback we've received.”

The team came under fire earlier this week when University of Manitoba Indigenous studies and history professor, Sean Carleton, argued in a Twitter thread that the Canucks should retire the crest as its "Coast Salish-inspired imagery was designed without Indigenous consultation." The logo, which was created by artist Brent Lynch in 1997, features elements of Haida design.

The Canucks also relayed a statement on behalf of Three Host Nations Chiefs of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Nations on Wednesday.

“For over a decade we have worked side-by-side to build a long and meaningful relationship based on respect and family-to-family values. The Aquilini family has supported the communities by honouring the Nations, creating space in their organization for our people, and ensuring the nations are represented in their events," the statement said.

"Our Nations appreciate the work they do and their friendship. We will continue to strengthen this relationship and support their endeavours through the ever-changing times.”

Carleton's Twitter thread was brought on, in part, by the backlash directed at new Canucks goalie Braden Holtby last week, who also faced criticisms of cultural appropriation after he hired Swede David Gunnarsson to make him a custom mask decorated with Indigenous art. Holtby has since apologized.

2020 has seen the elimination of a number of offensive sports logos and names. On Monday, Cleveland in the MLB revealed that it would be dropping its racist "Indians" moniker. The move follows similar decisions by the NFL's Washington Football Team and the CFL's Edmonton Football Team.

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