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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 Indigenous food systems, and this expanded foundation will continue to grow during the 2020-21 season and beyond.


Part of this work will include 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 will 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. 


A Land Acknowledgement is a formal statement that recognizes the unique and enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional territories. 


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.

Mà-ka-tai-me-she-kià-kiàk 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.


Learn More

November is Native American Heritage Month and over the coming weeks Native American community members will share their rich and diverse stories and lived experiences with the Blackhawks community.

Starla Thompson 

Starla Thompson, of the Forest County Potawatomi and Santa Ynez Chumash Nations, is an accomplished educator, speaker, and inspirational leader who was born and raised in Chicago. She has spent most of her adult life serving communities through leadership development, Native American cultural awareness and education, including the creation of the Tribal Leadership Development Program, collaborations with businesses and government entities to build education pipelines for tribal communities and more. 


Starla carries the resiliency and perseverance of her ancestors forward through education and art. One such expression is 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 of which the Potawatomi are a part. As we cannot be together in the arena for this year's Native American Heritage Month performances, fans are encouraged to learn more about Starla's story as she shares more about this particular "Healing Dance" that is only performed by women.


JR Lonelodge 

Our name sake, Black Hawk, was a storied War Leader - and as the United States honors and recognizes our nation's military veterans this upcoming Veterans Day (November 11), JR Lonelodge will share in his own words what it means to be a Native American veteran. 


JR, a member of the Arapaho, proudly served in the United States Marine Corps. and comes from a family of U.S. Marines. His late Grandfather, Clarence "Pete" Bailey who served in the Korean War, was a great influence on his life at a young age and was the center piece to his decision to take up the challenge. JR felt his presence the day he earned his Eagle, Globe and Anchor and from there went on to serve with the Fox Battery Battalion, 14th 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. He has now started to pass along those teachings to his two daughters.

Jason Garcia 

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 as well as 21st century popular culture, comic books and technology. He grew up in a creative environment amongst his Paternal and Maternal family members who are all artists - potters, painters, and jewelers - and learned first-hand about many different old-style Pueblo pottery techniques as a child from his Grandmothers, Aunts, and Mother. Using traditional materials and Pueblo pottery techniques coupled with various printmaking techniques, the juxtaposition of customary and contemporary connects him to his Ancestral past, landscape, and cultural knowledge. His printmaking serves as another way of creating, teaching, and sharing perspective and heritage with a greater audience. 


Jason will take us behind-the-scenes of his creative process as he begins to illustrate an upcoming series that captures the essence of Black Hawk and his legacy in collaboration with Black Hawk historians.

Native American Veterans

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 over the past ten years 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," one of the first exhibits inside their gallery that focuses on the importance of dialogue and recognizing Native American veterans. The Blackhawks also support their National Gathering of Veterans, an annual event that honors veterans and military personnel of all cultures, eras, and branches in a Native American way.


Artist Showcase



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


The Blackhawks will be supporting the arts and partnering with additional Native American artists and curators in upcoming endeavors. Native American artists will share their culture and experiences through the development of a marketplace, pieces in our facilities, and learnings within our Foundation's youth programs. 

Youth Education

The Chicago Blackhawks Foundation (CBF) serves hundreds of local youth each year through its community-based programming, which will be offered to participating non-profits virtually in Fall 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Multiple afterschool programs are in the process of being redesigned alongside advisors to incorporate a Native American perspective into learning. 



In this program, CPS middle-school students are guided through creative exercises to develop and engage in social emotional learning through the power of artistic expression. This November, CBF is proud to add several core components that will build exposure to Native American culture and learning around the influence on many forms of art that we see today. Students will also learn about successful and talented Native Americans, including our namesake Black Hawk, when exploring the concept of their own strengths and passions.



In this program, CPS students learn about fresh, seasonal and locally accessible produce that will help fuel their bodies. Through this program, they learn to think critically about the ways their food choices impact themselves, their families, and their communities. Students will have an opportunity to learn from Nina Sanders (Apsaalooke/Crow) who will integrate how Native American food systems have withstood the test of time, emphasizing how food is a connection to the past and the land today. Students will also learn about the tradition of Fry Bread, including how it came to exist in many Native American communities across North America and a recipe to make it themselves with their families.

Trickster Cultural Center
Opening Soon!

LOCATION: 190 S Roselle Rd, Schaumburg, IL 60193


Trickster Cultural Center* (formerly Trickster Art Gallery), the only Native American owned and operated arts institution in the state of Illinois, will soon open its state-of-the-art new wing. "A Place of Teaching," a permanent exhibit dedicated to the Native American people living across the Midwest and Pacific Northwest in the redesigned West Gallery space, includes Native American artifacts and integrates a greater use of technology to create an interactive space for students throughout Chicagoland, Northwest Indiana and Southern Wisconsin to visit as part of their core curriculum. 


Members of the general public will also be welcome to visit the new exhibit. Stay tuned for advanced event registration information!


"The aim of this exhibit is to teach people that Native Americans are not a chapter in a history textbook, but people of diverse nations living vibrantly today in cities and rural areas throughout the U.S., Canada, Central and South Americas, and islands in between. Through "A Place of Teaching" / "gikinoo'amaadiiwignamig" (Ojibwe), we hope to amplify Native voices collectively, heard as a unified call from their history to the strength of their present being." - Joe Podlasek, CEO of Trickster Cultural Center


*The Chicago Blackhawks Foundation proudly supports Trickster Cultural Center as a 2019-20 season grant recipient.


Learn More

Apsáalooke Women and Warriors

LOCATION: Field Museum 

SISTER SITE: Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago.


For many years, Native American communities weren't given the opportunity to tell their own stories in museums. Apsáalooke Women and Warriors is a step in a new direction. 


Working alongside curator Nina Sanders, 18 Apsáalooke collaborators bring their knowledge and artistry to this exhibition-including beadwork, clothing, video animation, painting, and photography. 


Dozens more shared their ideas, memories, and family histories to shape the making of Apsáalooke Women and Warriors. See how these contemporary artworks and stories come together with historical materials from the collections to create new meaning (Source).


"I hope this exhibition helps people to honor their own cultural experiences in new ways and to identify with Indigenous people-to realign ourselves as Americans and understand that this is a very diverse country." - Nina Sanders (Apsáalooke), Guest Curator of 'Apsáalooke Women and Warriors' and Advisor to the Chicago Blackhawks

Learn More

"D-Day Warriors - It Was Our War Too"

"D-Day Warriors - It Was Our War Too," a Trickster Cultural Center production, takes a unique look at D-Day through the eyes of Native American veterans. Charles Shay, Penobscot Indian, was just 19 years old when he landed on Omaha Beach in the first wave as a medic on June 6th, 1944. Travelling back to Omaha Beach each year with a delegation of Native American veterans, he honors those who gave their all that day with ceremony and prayer. 


This film originally aired locally on Chicago's PBS station WTTW and is available online through the end of November:

Watch Now

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. Moving forward, headdresses will be prohibited for fans entering Blackhawks-sanctioned events or the United Center when Blackhawks home games resume. 


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.