February 27, 2013

Baseball team abandons "Tomahawks" name

Ottawa’s first professional basketball team will be called the Tomahawks

By Farhan DevjiOttawa’s first-ever professional basketball franchise will be called the Tomahawks.

The expansion National Basketball League of Canada team’s name and logo was unveiled at a 3 p.m. press conference Tuesday at city hall.

The name was one of 10 possibilities that had been listed on the team’s “Guess the Name” Facebook contest.

The team is set to begin play this year as the ninth team in the NBL, which launched in 2011.
Mayor says he warned Ottawa TomaHawks about name

New team announces it's changing its name after public outcryOttawa Mayor Jim Watson says he warned the city's new basketball team about the controversial TomaHawks name and advised them to consult with the First Nations community.

"Obviously they did not do the kind of consultation that they should have done, and they certainly spoke with me and spoke with my office before the launch, and I strongly suggested that they have proper consultations with First Nations, and particularly the Algonquins of Ontario," said Watson.

"That didn't happen, and the issue blew up on them, and I'm glad they made a decision as quickly as they did to reverse themselves," he said.

Watson's comments came the same day the basketball team's co-owner announced on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning that the name TomaHawks will be changed after an outcry from Ottawa's aboriginal community.

The new basketball franchise had unveiled its team name and logo Tuesday but withdrew the name after criticism.

Bytown Sports and Entertainment president Gus Takkale told Robyn Bresnahan he wants his fledgling sports team to respect the community they represent.

"Yes, we are changing the name," said Takkale. "At the end of the day, we want to do the right thing for our community."
And:Takkale had defended the name, saying it was not meant to appropriate First Nations culture. He said they took the name from a type of slam dunk in basketball, not from the axe used by First Nations people, and noted that the logo was a basketball with wings.

Takkale said he had consulted with aboriginal groups before unveiling the logo and name, but declined to specify on Ottawa Morning with whom he had consulted.
Comment:  It's pretty damn stupid to think people would associate "Tomahawks" with a little-known type of slam dunk and not with the world-famous Native weapon.

It's also pretty damn stupid not to anticipate a public outcry over this stereotypical name. Activists didn't even have time to organize a social-media protest before the owner realized his mistake.

And it would good to know which "aboriginal groups" approved the name. Something about "Uncle Tomahawks" comes to mind.

For more on Indian mascots and tomahawks, see Hockey Team Chooses "Tomahawks" Name and Origin of the Tomahawk Chop.

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