NHL’s Blackhawks Will Read Land Acknowledgment Before Home Games to Honor Indigenous Peoples

Andy Devlin/NHLI/Getty Chicago Blackhawks

The Chicago Blackhawks pledged to read a land acknowledgment before every home game and other upcoming team events on Sunday, the first day of Native American Heritage Month.

According to the NHL team’s statement, a land acknowledgment is “a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous peoples and their traditional territories.”

In the statement, the Blackhawks said they “continue to grow in our commitments to honor 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 added, “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 endeavor to build a community that is informed and respectful of Native American people and their culture.”

Bill Smith/NHLI/Getty Chicago Blackhawks

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Along with the land acknowledgment, the team pledged to support the Trickster Cultural Center, which features exhibits honoring Native American veterans.

And, the Blackhawks will amplify the stories and life experiences of local Native American community members, such as Starla Thompson, JR Lonelodge, and Jason Garcia.

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Following protests over racial injustice and police brutality earlier this year, the Blackhawks faced pressure to change their name and logo, along with other professional sports teams like the NFL’s Washington Redskins and CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos.

Although the Blackhawks, unlike the Redskins — now the Washington Football Team — and the Eskimos — now the Edmonton Football Team — announced they would not change their name, the team did ban fans from wearing headdresses from the United Center.

“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 in July.

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