Blackhawks to read Land Acknowledgement statement before home games, team events

Chicago Blackhawks logo. (Canadian Press)

The Chicago Blackhawks will read a Land Acknowledgement statement before every home game and other team events moving forward.

The Blackhawks made the announcement, as well as announced other plans to celebrate and honour Native American people and groups, on Sunday. November is Native American Heritage Month.

“The Chicago Blackhawks continue to grow in our commitments to honour and celebrate Black Hawk’s legacy by offering our platforms, making meaningful contributions, collaborating with Native American people, and reimagining ways to support the many Native American people and communities we live amongst and alongside,” the team said in a statement.

“Part of this work will include working with Native partners in educating our staff, fans and local community on the history of Black Hawk and original peoples of Illinois, as well as on Native American contributions to today’s society. We will also continue to expand our investments in Native individuals and communities. Through these initiatives, we endeavour to build a community that is informed and respectful of Native American people and their culture.”

A Land Acknowledgement statement recognizes the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories and is an opportunity to express appreciation for the land the event is taking place on.

In addition to the Land Acknowledgement, the Blackhawks will recognize the countless Native American veterans who have served the United States by continuing to support the Trickster Cultural Center — formerly the Trickster Art Gallery — and its annual National Gathering of Veterans. The Center features exhibits honouring Native American veterans, while the National Gathering of Veterans honours military personnel of all cultures and backgrounds in a Native American way.

The Blackhawks are also planning some education programs through the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation and will feature the stories and life experiences of local Native American community members in stories through the team’s media platforms.

Earlier this year when protests over social and racial injustice were at their peak, the NFL’s Washington Redskins and CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos announced they would be changing their names and the Blackhawks were another team facing public pressure to do so. In July the club said it would be keeping its name — which honours Native American war hero Black Hawk of the Sauk — but would ban fans from wearing headdresses when the United Center is able to welcome crowds back.

“These symbols are sacred, traditionally reserved for leaders who have earned a place of great respect in their Tribe, and should not be generalized or used as a costume or for everyday wear,” the team said at the time.


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