Great statement by the Blackhawks. They drew an important distinction between their logo and nickname and others like the Indians and Redskins which make a mockery of a people and a culture that has suffered so much. Obviously, I agree with the Blackhawks stance here because I wrote basically the exact same thing in a blog a year or so ago and then republished it again more recently.
Like they said in the statement, there is a very fine line between respect and disrespect and I hope that the Blackhawks continue to be on the right side of that line. Education by the organization of the fans is a key factor here. People should know about Black Hawk the man. It's an awesome story that should easily be a book or movie. He should be celebrated as a William Wallace figure. There's strength and honor and opportunity to learn about our shared history through that story.
I am going to step outside of my comfort zone on this next part of the blog and I am essentially thinking out loud about this issue so please bear with me. I am VERY much against the Redskins name and logo, but I do think other First Nations and their people being used as mascots can be a positive if done respectfully. When learning about other cultures, so often the first step in is through food, art, and language, or at least it is for me. That, unfortunately, isn't possible with First Nations. American schools teach the history of native peoples as an amalgam. A low resolution representation of a rich culture that starts and pretty much ends with Thanksgiving. Which tribe broke bread with the pilgrims? I can't remember. Not sure I was ever taught, to be honest. My first introduction to various nations was because I saw their name in sports. The Utes, the Seminoles, the Sioux, the Aztecs, the Illini, etc. They're all vastly different people with different cultures. They're not "indians". In fact, I bet if you told a Navajo that they were the same thing as a Comanche, they'd probably want to punch you in the face. They fucking HATED the Comanches according to this book I am listening to now. They're each a unique people with their own traditions, languages, and lifestyles and perhaps sports can be used as an avenue to get their story to the mainstream public. Teams using those names and iconography should be respectful, work with those people, and make a stronger effort to tell the stories. I hope the Blackhawks will do the same because while I do know a bit about Black Hawk himself, I don't know enough about the Soc people(I thought it was Sauk).