SHAWINIGAN, Que. — This is not a post about debating the appropriateness of a First Nations-themed mascot and sports logo, honestly.
It's either a tribute to Canadian politesse or a commentary on Canadian deference to authority that the Cataractes logo, mascot and the use of the Tomahawk Chop chant after the host team scores have escaped commentary during the MasterCard Memorial Cup.
The Cataractes nickname literally translates to "waterfalls." Yet the Memorial Cup champions' crest is a caricature of an Indian chief and the mascot is named "Thomas Hawk," abbreviated to Tomahawk. The team also sells foam headdresses in its merchandise store and has a human mascot, a native person who wears warpaint, headdress, fringed jersey and leggings. There is also a statue of an Indian in one corner of the arena, although the banners for retired sweaters hide it from the press gallery.
As Terry Jones noted early in the tournament: "Yup. In 2012." And that was about the last time any out-of-town journalist said anything about it for publication. Ask a local citizen about it and they'll simply point out the Cats' logo is similar to a city emblem used in Shawinigan, which is not far from the Atimamekw nation. Other questions of how this has gone over, though, tend to draw little answer.