The Chicago Blackhawks’ statue outside of the United Center was vandalized early Monday morning, part of what appears to be a protest on Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The statue, one of several outside of the arena shared by the Blackhawks and Bulls in Chicago, was covered in red paint and graffiti.
Images of the vandalism first appeared from a Twitter account with the handle @zhigaagoong, referencing a former Native American territory in the Chicago area, and the name “no racist mascots.”
good morning, zhigaagoong pic.twitter.com/mLZ5z7pLok— no racist mascots (@zhigaagoong) October 12, 2020
A Blackhawks spokesperson confirmed the incident in a statement. The Blackhawks, according to The Athletic, have not filed a report with local police. The statue is now covered and surrounded by a chainlink fence.
“Over the weekend, the sculpture on Madison Street outside of the United Center was vandalized,” the spokesperson said, via The Athletic. “It is currently under tarp for protection and will be sent off to be repaired in the near future.”
The vandalism was clearly planned to coincide with Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a holiday that is slowly replacing Columbus Day throughout the United States. The holiday is meant to recognize the indigenous people of North America rather than Columbus and other Europeans who later arrived on the continent.
Columbus Day is still recognized by the federal government, something President Donald Trump repeatedly touted on Monday.
Blackhawks sticking with Native American logo, mascot
There has been a renewed push in sports in recent months to rename organizations with offensive mascots centered around Native Americans. The Washington Football Team officially ditched its old racist nickname earlier this year. The Cleveland Indians stopped using the old “Chief Wahoo” logo in 2018, as it was widely considered to be racist, and are considering changing their team name completely, too.
The Blackhawks pledged to “expand awareness of Black Hawk and the important contributions of all Native American people” in July, but stood by their mascot and team name.
The logo, per The Athletic, represents Sauk war leader Black Hawk. Variations of the current logo have been used since the team was formed in 1926.
“I think we truly believe that it’s a logo of honor,” Blackhawks interim president Danny Wirtz said in July, via The Athletic. “We also have heard from some of our partners and some newer voices in the Native American community who are holding us responsible or accountable for the types of education that come from having this platform. And so to us, that’s our frame of reference. And we know the logo also means a lot to our fans. I’d be naive to say that’s not important.
“But I think we want to do that with respect, and we want to do that with understanding how to represent this logo and represent the Blackhawk brand in a way and identity in a way that’s appropriate, respectful and that is actually using the platform for good and for education.”
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