VANCOUVER -- A scholar of Indigenous studies is suggesting the Vancouver Canucks get rid of the team’s decades-old orca logo, arguing it was designed without Indigenous consultation and is “cultural appropriation." 

“The real issue here is power and profit,” tweeted Sean Carleton, who teaches at the University of Manitoba in the Department of History and Indigenous Studies.

“Vancouver is located on unceded, stolen Indigenous territory, and the team makes millions from its operations and 'Indigenous' branding,” Carleton wrote.

The logo is in the shape of a C that looks like a B.C. killer whale, and was designed in 1996 by artist Brent Lynch, then unveiled a year later. It’s been worn by every Canucks captain as far back as Trevor Linden. 

Lynch and his team knew the look would be controversial, and acquired opinions from several First Nations chiefs.

“They didn’t have a problem with it, and thought it was too cartoonish to be Indigenous art,” said Lynch from his Vancouver Island home. “We wouldn’t have done it if it was too close to their ceremonial art.” 

Grand Chief Doug Kelly with the Stó:lō Tribal Council agrees it doesn’t look like First Nations art. He told CTV News he is not offended by the logo because in his opinion, there was no intent by the Canucks to be offensive. 

“Is racism an issue? Absolutely. Is it something we should work together to eradicate? Absolutely. But am I troubled by the Canucks logo? No way, nope, no way,” said Chief Kelly. 

But Carleton suggested the team revert back to its classic hockey stick design. 

“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?" he wrote online.


A previous version of this story misidentified Doug Kelly's title. He is Grand Chief of the Stó:lō Tribal Council.