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Chicago Blackhawks to issue land acknowledgment statement

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CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 18: Owner and Chairman Rocky Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks prepares to speak to the crowd during the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Rally at Soldier Field on June 18, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 18: Owner and Chairman Rocky Wirtz of the Chicago Blackhawks prepares to speak to the crowd during the Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship Rally at Soldier Field on June 18, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images /
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In a press release, the Chicago Blackhawks said that they were going to “issue a land acknowledgment statement” this season at home games. (Tweet including the news below.)

This move comes after the team stated earlier this year that it was not going to change its name or logo. The full text of the statement that will be used, as well as an explanation, can be found on the Chicago Blackhawks’ main site.

While the announcement may come as a surprise, the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t the only organization in the Chicagoland area to make sure a statement. Northwestern University also has it’s own land acknowledgment statement. It’s not apparent what drove this decision by Chicago, but there was a report by Scott Powers earlier this year addressing the Blackhawks’ logo, and it’s history.

It wasn’t immediately clear if the Chicago Bulls will also issue a land acknowledgment statement considering that the team shares a stadium with the Blackhawks. However, the Bulls have a different ownership group and haven’t been embroiled in the controversy around names and logos like the Blackhawks. The nature of the debate automatically includes Chicago’s NHL team into the discussion.

Reactions on the team’s Twitter account were mixed with some applauding the move, but wanting further action. Others seemed to disagree and want the debate around the name/logo stopped. This is an issue that has received a considerable amount of press over the years, and while the “renamed” Washington Football Team has likely born the brunt of the scrutiny, there are other teams.

It has been reported that MLB’s Cleveland Indians will change their name, and have already dropped their infamous “Chief Wahoo” mascot/logo. The University of Illinois will have to stop using all reference to Chief Illiniwek, and in Montreal, home of the Canadiens, the renowned university McGill has stopped using its “Redmen” nickname for its varsity teams.

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Will the Chicago Blackhawks eventually change their name and logo?  Will land acknowledgment statements become increasingly popular for other Chicago-area teams? Will other organizations that haven’t historically been involved in issues of cultural heritage begin issuing land acknowledgment statements?

There are likely many more questions to be asked about all of this. What do you think? Is this the right move by the Blackhawks? It is overdue? Is it too late? Let us know in the comments!

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