The NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks announced it will no longer allow fans to wear American Indian headdresses at their home games or other team-sanctioned events going forward.
“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 a statement.
The Blackhawks were one of several professional sports teams swept up in the aftermath of the Washington Football Team dropping the name “Redskins” due to racial insensitivity toward American Indians.
The Blackhawks, named after an American Indian chief from Illinois of the same name, previously reiterated that they would not change their nickname but promised to do more to show respect and raise cultural awareness of the American Indian community.
After meeting with American Indian partners, the team also announced it would open a new wing in the state of Illinois’ only Native-owned arts institution called the Chicago Blackhawks Cultural Education Center.
Hockey fans will not be able to attend games at Chicago’s United Center or elsewhere until next season, at the earliest, due to the coronavirus pandemic. The NHL is restarting its season in two bubble cities in Canada this week.