On July 14, the North Portland Oregon Hockey Club – Portland Winterhawks announced a long-pushed Native American team logo change. Previously, the logo contained an image of the head of an Indian wearing a national headdress, which offended the feelings of the indigenous population of America and caused constant resentment on their part.
The new emblem was unveiled at the Veterans Celebration at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The image of a hawk’s head, while retaining the team’s traditional colors of red and black, completed a forty-year confrontation between the team and the local Indian community of Portland, who considered the past symbolism a manifestation of racism.
The decision to rebrand was prompted by a Native American Youth and Family Center petition to expedite the process. Even though no members of the Center were involved in developing the new branding, and they were not consulted with them, the new branding of the team received universal approval from all Indians.
The history of the emblem, which caused the long-term contention between the Winterhawks and the Portland Indian diaspora, began much earlier. As a symbol of the famous NHL club – Edmonton Oil Kings, which moved to Portland in 1976, the logo remained in the team, which renamed itself the Winterhawks. But the current trend of rejecting offensive images and disrespectful expressions of race in the symbols and brands of the largest sports clubs in the United States has led to the need to rethink the branding of Portland Winterhawks.
Despite strong opposition from many fans and some team members, the change in the corporate identity of sports clubs is now proceeding at a rapid pace. Back in 2005, the American Psychological Association drew attention to the negative impact of such emblems on the vulnerable psyche of indigenous American children, calling for the need to radically reconsider the approach to creating advertising logos, mascots, and symbols.
However, it will not be possible to completely exclude obsolete signs and logos from the information field very quickly. The history of the clubs remains in their photographs, museum collections, where such images will take place. Conservative fans will continue to demonstrate their commitment to the old mascot. In particular, the implementation of old club symbols in the field of trade, where many goods of this group have accumulated, will still be carried out.
But what is happening now demonstrates the awakening of a new consciousness in the country, contributing to the solution of the problem of racial inequality, a clear example of which is the decision of the Portland Winterhawks sports club.