An Indigenous Nonprofit Is Petitioning the Portland Winterhawks to Change Their Logo

The depiction of an Indigenous man on the local junior ice hockey team’s jersey has long faced criticism.

The Portland Winterhawks in September 2019. IMAGE: Keith Dwiggins.

A local nonprofit is petitioning the Portland Winterhawks to change their logo.

The local junior ice hockey team's jersey has long faced criticism. In February, the Winterhawks released a "third jersey," emblazoned with a black hawk. But the team still wears its original jersey, featuring a caricature of an Indigenous person, at most games, and continues to manufacture and sell merchandise with the figure.

The Native American Youth and Family Center started the petition two weeks ago, urging the team to permanently switch to a hawk. It's now nearly reached its goal of 1,500 signatures.

"This alternative logo manages to promote the team without using offensive portrayals of Native people as mascots," reads the petition. "The team continues to use the outdated racially offensive branding and offer this alternative as the 'third jersey.'"

"The owner of the Portland Winterhawks has continually refused all attempts made by the Portland Indian Leaders Roundtable and the NAYA Family Center to engage in a dialogue about the racist logo," the petition continues. "So we have decided that it is time to bring this issue to the public and hold those responsible accountable."

The Winterhawks did not immediately respond to WW's request for comment.

In 2005, the American Physiological Association called for the immediate retirement of all mascots and logos that depict Native people. NAYA's petition against the Winterhawks cites APA's 2011 follow-up to that resolution, which declares that "the continued use of American Indian mascots, symbols, and images have not only negatively impacted American Indian youth by harming their self-esteem and social identity development, but can also have detrimental effects on the education of all community members by perpetuating one-sided stereotypes."

This summer, after decades of pushback, the NFL team in Washington, D.C., changed its logo and name, which was previously a racist slur.

Related: Sports Might Be Canceled, but Portland Still Won a Championship.

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