The Chicago Blackhawks attempted to do something nice on Sunday but unfortunately I think their efforts resulted in more negativity than anything else.
On Sunday the Blackhawks announced a number of "Native American Initiatives" on their official website, obviously recognizing the strong links that their organization has to their local Native American communities. This comes as no surprise given that the Blackhawks are of course named after a famous Sauk leader and war chief, Black Hawk.
At the forefront of these initiatives was a "Land Acknowledgement" on the part of the Blackhawks. A Land Acknowledgement is "a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories" and the Blackhawks are not the first NHL team to do so. The Ottawa Senators have a similar tradition in which they acknowledge that they play on the ancestral land of the Algonquin Anishinaabe people.
Here was the Blackhawks statement on the matter via their website:
The Chicago Blackhawks acknowledge that the team, its foundation, and the spaces we maintain, work and compete within, stand upon the traditional homelands of the Miami, Sauk, Fox, Ho-Chunk, Menominee,and the Council of the Three Fires: the Ojibwe, Odawa, and Potawatomi Nations. We understand that this land holds immense significance for its original stewards, the Native Nations and peoples of this region.
We would also like to recognize that out team's namesake, Sauk War Leader Black Hawk, serves as a continuous reminder of our responsibility to the Native American communities we live amongst and draw inspiration from.
The Blackhawks name has caused some controversy as of late, stemming largely from the fact that the Washington Redskins were recently pressured into dropping the Redskins from their name, and as a result of that controversy many fans reacted negatively to this announcement. Some felt that the Blackhawks were merely trying to appease people who were critical of their name while others simply demanded that the organization change their name, suggesting that these initiatives were not enough.
Here are just a few examples of some of the backlash directed at the Blackhawks today:
As you can tell from even these few examples I've provided the criticism is coming at the Blackhawks from all ends of the spectrum, no one seems happy. I have no doubt that the organization meant well when they put forward these initiatives, but at the end of the day you sometimes need to realize there is just no pleasing everyone.