Calgary Hockey Association To Change Name
In keeping with a spirit of reconciliation and inclusion, a Calgary minor hockey association is changing its name for the better.
The Blackfoot Hockey Association, which oversees several teams named “Chiefs” and “Blackfoot”, has announced that they’ll be dropping all related references from the association as well as from their teams. Instead, new team names will be chosen, and a new moniker adopted.
According to Pam Beebe, who is a Blackfoot member of the Kainai Nation, and who helped guide the consultation process, changing a potentially offensive name of any sport team is necessary and crucial work.
Information The Key To Respect
Beebe had attended McGill in Montreal, during which time the university’s team was named the “Redmen”. She said while she never really felt personally affected or offended by the name, she did become much more aware of how it must have affected others during the “not your mascot” campaign.
The campaign called out Indigenous mascots and symbolism in sports, as well as misappropriation offenses in terms of Indigenous cultural monikers and emblems.
Beebe said the campaign truly resonated with her because she had always regarded it disrespectful when these mascots would show up on television. Beebe said she found it shaming and horrible when people did the tomahawk chop without even knowing what it represented or meant to many Indigenous people.
She also said the move toward a new name and a new identity is an important and real step toward reconciliation and mending the hurts of the past. The idea is for the new monikers to be welcoming to all people, she explained, including those of an Indigenous heritage.
Change Leading To More Change
Also commenting on the big change had been Georgina Anderson, who is the president of the Blackfoot Hockey Association. Anderson said the association’s current name dates back 3 decades, and its first logo even further, being a traditional dreamcatcher.
Conversations had been sparked by other groups changing their names, explained Anderson. She said these conversations had led her to give thought to the fact that perhaps communities weren’t being helped to reclaim the respect they so deserved by names that could potentially be viewed as derogatory.
Anderson also now wishes to encourage other sports teams, and especially hockey associations, to follow suit by consulting with their Indigenous associations to see whether their names are causing offense, harm, and hurt.
She said the hope is for the association formerly known as Blackfoot to settle on a new name by at least the end of the year.