Edmonton Eskimos have no plans to change name
Published Wednesday, July 4, 2018 9:15AM EDT
The Edmonton Eskimos say they don’t have any plans to change the team name after meeting with Inuit leaders who told them they face more important issues.
Eskimos CEO Len Rhodes and other team staff recently returned from the Northwest Territories where they met with Inuit groups to seek input on the ongoing name controversy.
The term “Eskimo” is considered derogatory to some Inuit people as it is perceived to mean “eaters of raw meat” in some Indigenous languages. The term is widely accepted in Alaska.
“Many people that we met are proud of the name, want to celebrate the name and want to continue to develop a relationship with us,” Rhodes told CTV Edmonton.
“They also told us they have much bigger issues in many cases. They talked about teen suicide, they talked about the cost of goods and services (and) the lack of infrastructure, so there’s a lot of what they call ‘bigger issues’ that they’re dealing with on a daily basis.”
To gather as much input as possible, the team surveyed season ticket holders earlier in the year and plans further discussions in Nunavut, Ottawa and Edmonton.
Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada's national Inuit association, first petitioned to have the Edmonton Eskimos’ name changed in 2015, but the sentiment has grown lately as Edmonton is slated to host the 2018 Grey Cup.
In 2017, both Edmonton Mayer Don Iveson and Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman, who is Metis, recommended that the team should change its name.
That same year, a survey from market research firm Insights West indicated that just 21 per cent of Canadians and 12 per cent of Albertans found the name “unacceptable.”
Similar team name and logo controversies have hit the NFL’s Washington Redskins, the MLB’s Cleveland Indians and Atlanta Braves, and the NHL’s Chicago Blackhawks.
In January, the Indians announced they would abandon their Chief Wahoo logo, a caricature of a Native American that depicts a smiling head with bright red skin and a feather stemming from the back.
With files from CTV Edmonton