Winnipeg mayor wants Edmonton Eskimos to change name to a more inclusive one

WINNIPEG- Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman thinks the CFL Edmonton Eskimos should change their team name.

“I think there’s an opportunity to have a more inclusive name,” he said. “That’s ultimately a decision for the team, though.”

Bowman, who is Metis, said he respects the Edmonton CFL organization but would prefer a different name.

The Eskimos said in a statement that it uses the name with “pride and respect.”

“At this point in time, we are actively engaged in listening to the conversation that people are having around our name. Those conversations are ongoing and we are keenly listening to all input including from our loyal season seat holders and fans.”

The team also said if Bowman has an opinion he’d like to share with it, he should do so.

The Eskimos are facing the Blue Bombers in the CFL western semi-final on Saturday in Winnipeg.

It’s not the first time there have been calls for the Edmonton team to change its name.

Andre Talbot, the retired 2004 Grey Cup champion who played for the Toronto Argonauts but spent his final season in 2010 with Edmonton, said that changing the team name would be a small, but positive gesture.

“We have to honour the aboriginal communities of our great country and respect the fact that the name is deemed offensive and oppressive to these communities,” Talbot said in an interview in 2015.

“Sports organizations need to be community building organizations. And if we’re isolating and offending part of that community, then our particular organization or league is not doing its job.”

Natan Obed

president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents Canada’s 60,000 Inuit, said in 2015 that it wasn’t right for any team to be named after an ethnic group.

He called the term Eskimo a relic of a past in which Inuit people had no control over their lives or even what they were called. He said he would be offended if someone called him Eskimo.

The word “Eskimo”  is considered derogatory coined by non-Inuit people, is commonly used in Alaska to refer to all Inuit and Yupik people of the world,   describing them as “eater of raw meat.” According to the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, linguists believe the word Eskimo actually came from the French word esquimaux, meaning one who nets snowshoes.

 

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