The Rossland Senior Warriors hockey team has decided to keep its logo, despite allegations that it’s discriminatory to First Nations people and culture.
One of the most vocal people about the issue has been Alexandria Moon, who started an online petition one month ago to pressure the team to change its logo.
“The amount of racial violence that exists in Canada is undeniable, and to say that you’re ‘honouring’ them [First Nations] using their image to put fear in the hearts of your opponents perpetuates the stereotype of them being violent people,” said the petition.
“If it’s possible to change a large organization like the [Washington] Redskins, it is possible in our small community of Rossland.”
Over 370 people have signed the petition so far and many have voiced their own support for the logo change on the petition page.
The team’s logo, which has been used since at least the 1960s, is similar to the Chicago Blackhawks logo, which depicts Black Hawk, a leader from Illinois’ Sac and Fox Nation.
In a statement, the Rossland Warriors Association said they reached out to two First Nations for input on the logo.
Osoyoos Indian Band chief Clarence Louie supported keeping the logo.
“At an Osoyoos Indian Band chief and council meeting on July 21, I got the full support of my entire council to endorse the Rossland Senior Warriors’ continued use of their existing name and logo,” said chief Louie in an open letter.
“Remember, Rossland is in the traditional territory of the Osoyoos Indian Band (Okanagan/Syilx Nation) and I am very proud that your hockey team has chosen to wear a native logo.”
The association said support from the chief ultimately convinced them to keep using the logo.
Louie also said in the letter that there are more important First Nations issues in Canada.
“In my opinion, those on the internet petitioning the logo change need to inform themselves of much more serious native/non-native issues like unsettled land claims, the return of outright land thefts [like] the original Indian reserves, missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls and the systemic racism in the RCMP.
“The fact is, there are many other far more serious issues people should be starting a petition on.”
The team said they will continue to work with chief Louie to raise awareness around other First Nations issues.
The Rossland Senior Warriors is made up of numerous players from Rossland, Trail and other West Kootenay communities.