A statue of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrating the Native American leader named after the NHL team on Indigenous People’s Day has been the new victim of vandals.
The Chicago Sun-Times said that the emblem of the team’s namesake, the Native American leader Black Hawk, was coated with orange paint and various graffiti protest signs outside the stadium of the hockey team early Monday.
The tweets included threats on Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, as well as demands to “defund” the police department of Chicago, showing pictures.
But in opposition to the federal holiday of Columbus Day, the largest sign around the base of the statue read “land free,” apparently timed to endorse Monday’s Indigenous People’s Day.
On a newly created Twitter page called @zhigaagoong, a Native American phrase referring to the land around Chicago and one of the words sprayed around the statue, videos of the graffiti first emerged.
The page, which called itself “No racist mascots,” also posted a video showing a sign reading “We are united against racism” outside the stadium and then panning across to the statue.
“The irony is gone,” said the video, with the message, “We’re united against bigotry [but against racist mascots].”
The monument was placed under the tarp and, the Blackhawks told NBC Chicago, “will be shipped off to be restored shortly.”
During months of demonstrations, demonstrators have regularly attacked monuments, often directed at people with links to slavery.
During a pre-planned “day of rage” in Portland, Oregon, monuments of former Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt were toppled late Sunday, which police called a riot.
The Blackhawks emphasize that the name of the team honors the namesake chief and emphasized in July that no attempts were made to pursue the precedent of the Washington Football Team of the NFL in dropping its Redskins moniker.
We honor the heritage of Black Hawk by offering continuing reverent examples of Native American culture, customs, and accomplishments, creating a forum for genuine dialogue, according to the Sun-Times, with local and national Native American organizations, the team said in July.
Noting that there was a “fine line between reverence and disrespect,” the team said it was “committed to bringing the bar ever higher to raise Black Hawk visibility and all Native American people’s major contributions.”
We will continue to work and do so with a determination to grow as guardians of our brand and identity.
Our activities in this sector have been genuine and multifaceted, and the way forward will build on that experience to develop and broaden our activities as an organization.’