The Chicago Blackhawks continue to grow in our commitments to honor and celebrate Black Hawk's legacy by offering our platforms, making meaningful contributions, collaborating with Native American people, and reimagining ways to support the many Native American people and communities we live amongst and alongside.
As we to look to expand our efforts, we will continue our genuine dialogue with local and national Native American groups and are committed to collaborating with Native American people and communities. It is through these collaborations that we've begun the thoughtful and focused process of implementing more Native American-led initiatives centered on education, contemporary art, athletics and more, and this expanded foundation will continue to grow moving forward.
Part of this work includes working with Native partners in educating our staff, fans and local community on the history of Black Hawk and original peoples of Illinois, as well as on Native American contributions to today's society. We also continue to expand our investments in Native individuals and communities. Through these initiatives, we endeavor to build a community that is informed and respectful of Native American people and their culture.
We look forward to getting these efforts further underway and hope our fans and partners will join us in continuing this growth and development as we work toward becoming better allies.
WHAT IS A LAND ACKNOWLEDGEMENT?
A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories.
WHY DO WE RECOGNIZE THE LAND?
To recognize the land is an expression of gratitude and appreciation to those whose territory you reside on, and a way of honouring the Indigenous people who have been living and working on the land from time immemorial.
It is important to understand the long standing history that has brought you to reside on the land, and to seek to understand your place within that history. Land acknowledgements do not exist in a past tense, or historical context: colonialism is a current ongoing process, and we need to build our mindfulness of our present participation. It is also worth noting that acknowledging the land is Indigenous protocol (Source).
In addition to recognition within our physical and digital spaces, the Chicago Blackhawks intend to open home games, public events and other gatherings by acknowledging the traditional Native American inhabitants of the land moving forward.
Ma ka tai me she kia kiak or Black Hawk of the Sauk (present day Sac & Fox) tribe was an accomplished war leader & dignitary. He committed his life to the preservation and protection of his people, his family, and the land they were connected to.
The Chicago Blackhawks name and logo symbolizes this important and historic person, whose leadership and life continues to inspire generations of Indigenous people, American veterans and our very own Blackhawks community.
You can learn more about Black Hawk's legacy through the link below.
Wallace "Bud" McLellan (Sac & Fox) has the distinct honor of carrying Black Hawk's name today. Learn more about his story as Thunder Clan leader and veteran of our nation's armed forces.
The Chicago Blackhawks are currently working with an esteemed group of veterans from the Sac & Fox Nation and the United States Army to deliver and install a decommissioned Black Hawk helicopter at the Sac & Fox Veterans Memorial on the tribe's reservation in Stroud, Oklahoma. This will be the second donation of its kind in U.S. Army history and the first to a tribal nation. We look forward to sharing the stories of additional Sac & Fox veterans and active military personnel upon its installation.
In collaboration with the Sac & Fox Nation's education department, the Chicago Blackhawks Foundation will fund two brand-new, four-year scholarships for Sac & Fox high school seniors to assist in their continued college or university education alongside additional exposure to career-building opportunities. The Black Hawk and Jim Thorpe Awards will respectively recognize students' outstanding leadership skills and athletic accomplishments. With two winners of each scholarship annually, we will build toward a cohort of 20 Sac & Fox youth scholars over five years.
As multiple government records show, Native Americans serve in the United States military at a higher rate than any other demographic. The Chicago Blackhawks are proud to recognize our nation's Native American veterans, including many who have been honored on the ice during the national anthem as part of the team's Military Salutes program.
Trickster Cultural Center has been an integral partner since the inception of this program, with many Native American veterans on the ice also featured within Trickster's "Wall of Honor."
On Sunday, November 7, the Chicago Blackhawks hosted our annual Native American Heritage Month game spotlight, featuring a special opening performance by the YellowCloud drum circle (Forest County Potawatomi) and Starla Thompson (Potawatomi) showcasing a Jingle Dress dance, individuals from the original tribes of Illinois being recognized during our Land Acknowledgement, veterans and active service members from the Sac & Fox Nation of Oklahoma honored during the national anthem, as well as a performance from dancers of the Sac & Fox Nation sharing their culture as part of Black Hawk's ancestral tribe.
Learn more Native American community members through their rich and diverse stories and lived experiences with the Blackhawks community.
Starla Thompson, of the Forest County Potawatomi and Santa Ynez Chumash Nations, carries the resiliency and perseverance of her ancestors forward through the performance of the Jingle Dress Dance, which comes from the Anishnaabe people, a group of indigenous people from the Great Lakes region of the United States and Canada.
JR Lonelodge a member of the Arapaho, proudly served in the United States Marine Corps. and comes from a family of U.S. Marines. JR has also danced as a Southern War Dancer since the age of two, earning multiple top accolades in his travels across the U.S. and Canada.
Jason Garcia's work documents the ever-changing cultural landscape of his home of Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico, and is influenced by Tewa Cultural ceremonies, traditions, and stories. Get an inside look at how Jason collaborated with Black Hawk to capture the essence of Black Hawk and his legacy.
We have always maintained an expectation that our fans uphold an atmosphere of respect, and after extensive and meaningful conversations with our Native American partners, we have formalized those expectations. Headdresses are be prohibited for fans entering Blackhawks-sanctioned events or the United Center for home games.
These symbols are sacred, traditionally reserved for leaders who have earned a place of great respect in their Tribe, and should not be generalized or used as a costume or for everyday wear.
Jacenia Desmoulin, a young Anishnaabe artist from Biigtigong Nishnaabeg, is the talented graphic artist who designed the Native-inspired art for this webpage. She was born in Providence, Rhode Island and brought back to her First Nation community as a young girl where she began her journey discovering her First Nation's culture. Her passion has always been to create art, whether it's drawing, painting, using mixed media arts, or performing, and is now a graphic designer, self- taught tattoo artist, and jingle dress dancer who carries the teachings of the sacred medicine dress.
Among other elements, Jacenia says one of her inspirations for this design was the Four Sacred Medicines. Tobacco is the first plant that the Creator gave to Native people. It is the primary activator of all the plant spirits. Three other plants, sage, cedar, and sweetgrass, follow tobacco, and together they are referred to as the four sacred medicines, which are used in everyday life and ceremonies (Source).
"Though I am currently studying Indigenous Learning and Psychology to hopefully one day open an Indigenous-oriented OB/GYN, art is a passion that I will never stop pursuing. It makes me happy, and it makes other people happy. Art presents an opportunity to be a channel to show that we are still here, our languages and teachings are still here, and our vibrant culture continues to grow and redevelop." - Jacenia Desmoulin
Ojibwe artist and graphic designer Patrick Hunter created the designs that accompany the Blackhawks' Land Acknowledgement inside the arena and featured on this webpage.
What Patrick created was an appropriately spectacular extension of the land itself. His graceful, vivid florals and greenery resemble the designs used in historic Ojibwe bandolier bags and clothing, all made in the likeness of the foliage that comes from the land. His stylistic feathers represent the spiritual and traditional understanding that eagle feathers hold a significant place in the belief systems of each of the Nations who have stewarded these lands since time immemorial. (Source)
"In addition to representing the Nations and Sauk War Leader Black Hawk, the seven uniquely designed feathers also lend themselves to represent the 7 grandfather teachings of many Indigenous nations throughout Turtle Island that invite us to live our lives with bravery, truth, humility, love, wisdom, respect and honesty, something that I think the Blackhawks as a team represent.
The inspiration behind my work comes from my roots as an Ojibway, 2spirit person. What I illustrate, draw and paint are created to convey the spirit of what's inside or being represented visually. I want a young Indigenous kid to grow up and see themselves represented in the mainstream culture instead of excluded from it visually, and it's collaborations like this that will help see that dream come true."
-- Patrick Hunter
To learn more about Patrick's work, visit patrickhunter.ca