Indigenous player refuses to play for Calgary team over logo
A seven-year-old First Nations girl says she won’t be suiting up for the Northwest Warriors, a Calgary minor hockey team, because she says the logo the club uses is ‘offensive’.
The logo depicts a person wearing feathers, a prominent symbol of the Northwest Warriors hockey teams.
When news of the young player’s decision got onto social media, it sparked discussion about whether it was offensive or if people are too easily offended.
Many parents whose children play for the team don’t know what the issue is.
“I think it’s disgusting for somebody not to wear it,” said Brenda Fishley. “I love the logo of the native on there.”
Fishley said she doesn’t want anything to change. “It’s history; the natives have been here for a really long time. I don’t understand it, I really don’t.”
A number of other people have also shared their comments online, calling the debate ‘crazy’.
Others are taking the girl’s side of the argument, saying that ‘maybe after years of being treated as subhuman, some people find it just as offensive as the swastika’.
This isn’t the first time that a Calgary sports team has drawn this sort of attention over its name and logo.
The Western Canada High School had to change the ‘Redmen’ name and logo after it was criticized in 2014.
Campaigns to change the names on major teams such as the Cleveland Indians, Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Redskins and Edmonton Eskimos have, so far, failed.
Experts say that there is more of an issue that can’t be ignored.
“It’s not simply, ‘oh well, it’s not a big deal’, its where did these originate from and what are they perpetuating?” said Gabrielle Lindstrom, assistant professor of Indigenous Studies at MRU.
She says that using logos like the Warriors perpetuates a bias that indigenous people are ‘war-like’.
The Crowchild Hockey Association, the group that oversees the Warriors, said that it would be taking action to address the complaint while also honouring history.
There are no details on what will be done to address the issue.
Hockey Alberta says that there is no policy governing names, nicknames or logos of member associations or teams.
(With files from Stephanie Wiebe)