Girl refuses to wear hockey jersey over 'offensive' logo
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, September 8, 2017 8:56AM EDT
A community is at odds over whether a Calgary minor league hockey team should change its logo after a seven-year-old player refused to wear the jersey because she said it was “offensive.”
Emblazoned on the front of the Northwest Warriors hockey team’s jersey is an image of a First Nations man or “warrior” wearing feathers. The logo resembles the famous emblem for the Chicago Blackhawks in the NHL.
The young player, who wished to remain anonymous, chose not to participate in her team’s games this season in protest. That decision has divided members of the community with some voicing their support for the logo while others would like to see it replaced.
One mother of another player on the girl’s team, Brenda Fishley, told CTV Calgary that she doesn’t understand what all of the uproar is about.
“I think it’s disgusting for somebody not to wear it. I love the logo of the native on there,” Fishley said on Thursday. “It’s history. I mean, the natives have been here for a long time.”
One Calgary resident suggested that the logo should be redesigned in a comment posted on the team’s Facebook page.
“Why not work with indigenous peoples and find a logo that is acceptable, not a caricature of discriminatory views of THEIR Warriors?” the comment says.
The Crowchild Hockey Association, which manages the team, responded to the debate over the logo with a statement.
“Our association’s executive is working as quickly as possible to discuss how best to address this concern and fulfill our mission, while honouring historical decisions made in consultation with many community members,” the statement read.
This is not the first time controversy has arisen over Indigenous images being used in sport. The logos of professional franchises such as the Cleveland Indians, Washington Redskins, Chicago Blackhawks and the Edmonton Eskimos have been the subject of debate for years.
In Canada, Western Canada High School dropped its “Redmen” school logo name in 2014. More recently, a B.C. hockey league announced they would retire the mascot character Chief Wannawin for the Chilliwack Chiefs team at an upcoming game this month after they received complaints from a local First Nations chief.
A local indigenous studies professor at the University of Calgary, Gabrielle Lindstrom, supports the decision by some athletic teams to change logos that include First Nations imagery because she said it can create misconceptions about Indigenous culture.
“It perpetuates this implicit bias that non-Indigenous people may form of non-native people, and that is, we're war-like,” Lindstrom explained.
The Crowchild Hockey Association hasn’t announced how it plans to deal with the complaints yet or if they will replace the Northwest Warriors’ logo with something else.
With a report from CTV Calgary’s Stephanie Wiebe