Ottawa Tomahawks to change name after public uproar
Published Wednesday, February 27, 2013 8:19AM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 27, 2013 8:54AM EST
After being criticized over its name choice, Ottawa’s new professional basketball team has decided to drop the word “Tomahawk” from its team name.
The team is expected to announce a new name and logo on Wednesday.
After revealing that the team would be called the Ottawa Tomahawks, a number of fans voiced their opposition on social media.
Local First Nations DJ Ian Campeau tweeted at the team “You’re setting Ottawa back 30 years with naming your team ‘Tomahawks.’ It’s ridiculous and cultural appropriation.”
Last summer, Campeau had also launched a campaign over social media that took issue with the name of the Nepean Redskins football team.
But the basketball team’s owner, Gus Takkale said the Tomahawk name, which was selected after a public team-naming competition, is referencing a type of slam dunk rather than First Nations culture.
"It’s a dunk made famous by legendary basketball players like Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins and Michael Jordan,” he said. “When you actually do it, perform it in a game, it’s astonishing. The crowd fills with excitement, it shifts the entire momentum of the game. So that excitement is what we want to link our brand to.
“We understand that it’s a tool that was used in the history many years ago. We’ve done our homework and we’ve spoken to various First Nations groups and we continue to speak with them as well, to be open and transparent with what we want to do.”
The Ottawa team is the latest franchise in the National Basketball League of Canada – a fledgling, nine-team league that stretches from Windsor, Ont., to Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Ottawa will begin playing at the Scotiabank Place in the fall.
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Terry Marcotte