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Canadian News Dec 15, 2020 1:23 PM EST

Activist professor demands Vancouver Canucks change logo, claims it's cultural appropriation

The Vancouver Canucks are the latest sports franchise to face pressure over their imagery and the alleged appropriation of Indigenous art and culture.

Activist professor demands Vancouver Canucks change logo, claims it's cultural appropriation
Roberto Wakerell-Cruz Montreal, QC

This article was published more than 1 year ago, information might not be up to date.

The Vancouver Canucks are the latest sports franchise to face pressure over their imagery and the alleged appropriation of Indigenous art and culture.

According to University of Manitoba history professor Sean Carleton, the imagery depicted in the Canucks logo—an orca with elements of traditional Haidi art style—is "appropriated."

"In light of sports teams in Cleveland, Washington, and Edmonton getting rid of racist and appropriated Indigenous team names/logos, it's time to have a discussion about the Vancouver Canucks Indigenous appropriated Orca logo," tweeted Carleton.

"How can you continue to develop meaningful relations with Coast Salish nations when you continue to profit from branding that is appropriating their art style," said Carleton.

Carleton's analysis starts from a controversy sparked by Canucks goaltender Braden Holtby, who "appropriated Indigenous imagery on his new mask."

"He has since apologized. But why is Holtby getting criticized for doing what the team has done for years?" asked Carleton.

"The orca logo's Coast Salish-inspired imagery was designed without Indigenous consultation and has served as the team's "brand" since 1997. As a Canucks fan and a historian of Indigenous-settler relations in BC, the orca logo is, without a doubt, cultural appropriation," he continues.

Canucks team owner Francesco Aquilini recently said that the logo might be "tweaked," though says the logo is "Indigenous to the region," standing by it. Carleton, however, believes the logo should be "retired."

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