Native names, logos have long tradition in sports
Published Saturday, November 16, 2013 7:53PM EST
Last Updated Saturday, November 16, 2013 10:21PM EST
A Quebec snack company's decision to re-issue a logo featuring a cartoon depiction of a young native boy comes amid an ongoing debate over the use of native imagery and culture by sports teams.
A department from the University of Saskatchewan’s college of education passed a resolution on Friday, calling for the retirement of mascots and logos depicting images of native people.
And in the U.S., there are ongoing calls for the Washington Redskins football team to change their name.
In late October, officials from the Oneida First Nation who oppose the name met with NFL officials to discuss their concerns. Even U.S. President Barack Obama has waded into the debate, stating that if he owned the Redskins, he'd think about changing the name and mascot.
The team's owner, Dan Snyder, recently wrote a letter to ticket holders, saying that while he respects those who are offended by the name, opponents should try to respect what the name has come to mean to the athletes and the fans.
"The name was never a label," Snyder writes. "It was, and continues to be, a badge of honour."
But the Redskins are not the only team to use references to native people and imagery in their names and logos. Here's a look at some other sports teams whose names and logos have garnered criticism.
The Cleveland Indians logo, known as "Chief Wahoo," has long drawn criticism from native Americans, sportswriters and various religious groups.
The logo was first created in 1947 and has gone through multiple changes since, but the main caricature of the grinning Wahoo remains. The team considered replacing it in 1993, but ultimately decided to retain the logo.
After the recent announcement that the Atlanta Braves would be moving into a new multi-million dollar ballpark in 2017, some local sports writers questioned if the team would also consider changing its name with the move. A team spokesperson later told reporters that the team name would remain the same.
(AP / John Raoux)
The original Chicago Blackhawks logo from 1926 featured a black and white depiction of a native head in a circle and was created by the wife of the team's first owner, Frederic McLaughlin. The logo has gone through many changes since, with the current logo dating back to the 1960s.
(AP / Nam Y. Huh)
Some sports writers have noted that the Blackhawks have largely avoided criticism, unlike other sports teams. Washington Redskins representative Lanny Davis recently pointed this out in an interview on "Fox & Friends," stating that Obama should not focus only on the Redskins in his criticism.
Florida State Seminoles
The Seminoles, named after the native Americans who originally lived in Florida, is the name of the sports teams representing Florida State University.
One of the school's traditions is to have a student dress up to portray the famous Seminole leader Osceola and ride into the school's football stadium on a horse with a spear, to begin every home football game.
(AP / Reinhold Matay, File)
While the school says that the tradition, which dates back to 1978, has the support from local Seminole leaders, it has garnered criticism from other Florida Seminoles and Oklahoma Seminoles.
In September, the Nepean Redskins announced they would be officially changing their name and logo after a human rights complaint was filed, alleging that the name was racist.
The team's president Steve Dean said a new name, logo and colours will be chosen at the end of the football season in November.
In 1999, an Inuit man pushed to have the Edmonton Eskimos renamed. Bernie Adams said the term "Eskimo" was used a derogatory term when he lived in Happy Valley, Labrador. The team stood firm, saying at the time that it has received complaints in the past but has never contemplated changing its name.