As part of their goal and efforts to better respect Native American culture, the Blackhawks have formally banned headdresses being worn by fans at the United Center when games resume there next season and at other team-sanctioned events.
"Headdresses will be prohibited for fans entering Blackhawks-sanctioned events or the United Center when Blackhawks home games resume," the team said in a statement posted to its website. "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."
In the aftermath of the Washington football franchise dropping Redskins as its name, the Blackhawks announced they would keep their name but focus their efforts on better recognizing and celebrating Native American culture and its history.
Here's the full statement from the Blackhawks on Wednesday about their decision:
"On July 7, the organization made a commitment to expand our efforts, serve as stewards of our name and identity and raise the bar even higher for our ongoing dialogue with local and national Native American groups. We thank these Native American partners for their consistent insight throughout the years, as well as the other Native American organizations and community members who reached out over the last few weeks to share their feedback on how we can best utilize our platform to better educate the public and serve the Native American community.
"As we prepare to return to play and represent you in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers in Edmonton, we want our fans to be very clear on what it means to be part of the Blackhawks family, regardless of whether we can be together in the arena. 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 decided to formalize 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.
"Today, we also want to share that the Blackhawks are building a platform that will further integrate Native American culture and storytelling across our organization -- from broader community engagement and front office staff education to an increased presence within our game presentation, around our arena and across all of the team's digital channels. Education will be our beacon, and these efforts will continue to honor Native American contributions to our society, including Black Hawk's legacy, as well as showcase that those achievements are not limited to history books and museums but thriving right now within our military, business, the arts and more.
"Additionally, we are currently working to establish a state-of-the-art new wing at Trickster Cultural Center, the only Native American owned and operated arts institution in the state of Illinois. In partnership with the Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, the Chicago Blackhawks Cultural Education Center will include Native American artifacts from their vast collection and integrate 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.
"We look forward to continuing this dialogue and sharing additional updates on these plans with you in the months ahead and thank you for joining us in this important and ongoing conversation.