Two Canadian junior hockey team logos have been removed from centre ice after deciding they didn’t align with a city’s human rights obligations.
The City of Brockville said it will no longer display the logos of the Brockville Braves and the Brockville Tikis. Both logos make reference to Indigenous Peoples.
Although the organisations asked for the logos to be returned to centre ice, the city referred to the 2018 settlement by the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) about removing Indigenous-themed sports branding.
In 2018 it was decided that the city of Mississauga would take down all “Indigenous themed” imagery, symbols and names from city-owned sports facilities.
The settlement was brought before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in 2015 by Bradley Gallant, a member of Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation.
Mr Gallant brought fourth an application before the tribunal alleging discrimination under the province’s human rights code.
“We need to work to tear down the structures of discrimination, and we can start with the continued use of Indigenous Peoples as mascots for sports teams,” Gallant said.
“These types of images and mascots are harmful and have a negative effect on both Indigenous and non-Indigenous kids.”
It took nine hearings over a two-year period, with the City of Mississauga finally agreeing to “develop a new policy to govern the use of Indigenous images and themes at its sports facilities”.
Vice-president of Truth, Reconciliation and Indigenisation at Algonquin College, Ron McLester said the hockey organisation must demonstrate a relationship with the Indigenous Peoples they claims to be honouring.
“These names, these symbols, these graphics … were taken from our communities,
and they were taken from our people.”
McLester is a member of the Turtle Clan of the Oneida Nation, which is part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.
“They were used for the sole benefit of the proprietor of those sports organisations, and there is no way shape or form that I can see that as ‘honouring’,” he said.
Not everyone is agreement that the imagery is offensive, a father of one of the players, Brian Decaluwe, said he doesn’t see why the Braves logo should be changed.
“I think it’s ridiculous. It’s a long tradition, long history. Brave stands for brave warrior,”
So far, 19 municipalities have worked with teams to change their names and logos.
With two cases having support by Indigenous communities in keeping the existing team names and logos.
By Teisha Cloos