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Chicago Blackhawks to keep name, commit to ‘expand awareness’ of Black Hawk’s legacy

The Hawks’ statement Tuesday comes in light of discussions by the NFL’s Washington Redskins and MLB’s Cleveland Indians to potentially change their Native American-related names.

The Blackhawks logo, depicting a Native American chief, has come under question in recent weeks as other professional sports franchises consider name and logo changes.
The Blackhawks logo, depicting a Native American chief, has come under question in recent weeks as other professional sports franchises consider name and logo changes.
Scott Stewart/Sun-Times

The Blackhawks will keep their name and logo but are committed to ‘‘raising the bar even higher’’ in their efforts to increase awareness of Native American culture, they said in a statement Tuesday.

The statement comes after the NFL’s Redskins and MLB’s Indians announced their intentions last week to consider changing their Native American names and logos.

‘‘The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes an important and historic person, Black Hawk of Illinois’ Sac & Fox Nation, whose leadership and life has inspired generations of Native Americans, veterans and the public,’’ the Hawks’ statement said.

‘‘We celebrate Black Hawk’s legacy by offering ongoing reverent examples of Native American culture, traditions and contributions, providing a platform for genuine dialogue with local and national Native American groups. As the team’s popularity grew over the past decade, so did that platform and our work with these important organizations.

‘‘We recognize there is a fine line between respect and disrespect, and we commend other teams for their willingness to engage in that conversation.

‘‘Moving forward, we are committed to raising the bar even higher to expand awareness of Black Hawk and the important contributions of all Native American people.

‘‘We will continue to serve as stewards of our name and identity and will do so with a commitment to evolve. Our endeavors in this area have been sincere and multifaceted, and the path forward will draw on that experience to grow as an organization and expand our efforts.’’

The Hawks frequently honor Native Americans with pregame ovations and intermission performances, but other Native American groups in Illinois have denounced the Hawks’ name and logo for perpetuating racist stereotypes.