Poll asks Edmonton Eskimos shareholders and others if the CFL team should change its name

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The Edmonton Eskimos football club confirmed on Monday that it was asking shareholders and “other key audiences” to respond to a survey about the team’s name and whether it should be changed.The CFL team has faced waves of criticism for his name over the years, with some claiming that he is racist and shows disrespect for Indigenous peoples in northern regions of Canada and the United States. United.

The last public debate on the name took place last week when Belairdirect, an insurance company and team sponsor, said he could sever ties with the club unless he changes his name.

The company cited one of its corporate values ​​- respect – as the reason for issuing the ultimatum.

READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos pledge to speed up name review and provide update by the end of the month

The Edmonton team name survey asks for demographic information, including how long the respondents have lived in Alberta. He also asked how committed respondents are to the team as fans and whether they support maintaining or changing the team name and what influences this opinion.

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Survey line indicates team name was “originally chosen over 100 years ago due to recognition, persistence and strength of Inuit culture” and asked how respondents would feel if the team “celebrated and contributed more to that.”

When asked to comment on the investigation on Monday, the Eskimo club provided Global News with a statement it released on July 8.

“We recognize and appreciate the comments and contributions regarding our name,” said the press release. “We take this issue seriously, as demonstrated by the three years we have spent engaging in Canada’s North and conducting research related to our name.

“We recognize that a lot has happened since the collection of this information and therefore we are speeding up our ongoing review process.

“We will seek further comments from Inuit, our partners and other stakeholders to inform our decisions in the future. We will continue to listen carefully and with an open mind. We intend to complete our review as soon as possible and will provide an update on these discussions by the end of this month. ”

Leftist think tank Progress Alberta told Global News on Monday that it had teamed up with Inuk researcher Norma Dunning to launch “an email pressure campaign on sponsors and partners of the Edmonton Football Club.” The campaign calls on these partners to ask the team to change their name or end their relationship with the club.

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READ MORE: Edmonton Eskimos pledge to speed up name review and provide update by the end of the month

Dunning, who recently published a book called Eskimo Pie: A Poetics of Inuit Identitytold Global News in an interview on Monday that she did not understand why “Eskimo” is a word still accepted in society when the derogatory terms used formerly for people of other ethnicities or skin colors are no longer accepted .

Dunning added that she thinks the new poll is “another delay tactic.” She also asked why people who are not Inuit are participating in the team consultation process and said that she believed the team had not properly consulted the 1,200 Inuit living in Edmonton.

The team should now change their name, said Dunning. She added that if the team does not change the name in principle, she hopes that the financial pressure will prompt such a decision.

“Money speaks,” said Dunning. “If the sponsors have to withdraw and dissociate themselves from the team, that’s fine with me.”

Last week, Global News contacted Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a non-profit organization representing more than 60,000 Inuit, for its response to the football team challenged by a sponsor to change its name.

An ITK spokesperson said the organization had made no statement in response to the development, but sticks to comments from its president in a 2015 editorial.

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In the play, Natan Obed explains why he thinks the name of the Edmonton Eskimos is harmful to the Inuit.

“The Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami demanded that the Edmonton Canadian Football League team stop using the nickname” Eskimos “as part of an ongoing fight against colonization in the name of reconciliation,” reads a part of Obed’s chronicle published by Nunatsiaq News. “This position has been supported by many Inuit, although I fully understand and appreciate that not all Inuit consider the term offensive.

“The colonial heritage of the denomination concerns power and control. The question of using the Inuit as a sports team mascot is important, because this is how this heritage continues to play out in popular culture.

“This question concerns our right to determine ourselves who we are on our own terms. We are neither mascots nor emblems. ”

A prominent Inuk athlete voiced his opinion on the controversy late last week. Retired hockey player Jordin Tootoo, the first Inuk to play in the National Hockey League, issued a statement about the matter and said that although he does not personally object to the name, he believes the decision to change or keep it should be based on how Inuit Feeling.

READ MORE: Jordin Tootoo Says Discussion About Edmonton Team Name Should Focus On Inuit Feelings

“My father’s generation connects this term to describe who they are,” said his statement. “He would call himself an Eskimo. My generation calls themselves Inuk. What is important to me is that people understand this. And when they refer to the Inuit, they respect the fact that we call ourselves Inuk today.

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“I understand that there are names of sports teams that bring back feelings of oppression for people and I can see why these names should be changed.

“So that begs the question: is the Eskimo term for the Edmonton franchise bringing up feelings of oppression among the Inuit?” For me, this is not the case. There is no reason to keep the name. There may be others for whom it creates these feelings. ”

Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, the Member of Parliament for Nunavut, also says that she believes the decision by Edmonton to keep the name of her team should be informed by the Inuit.

“We are the only ones who can determine if this term is derogatory,” she said.

Qaqqaq said she was wondering what the CFL club even knew about the Inuit, their history and the challenges they currently face.

She noted that while some are proud to be called Eskimos, she knows “many Inuit who are not,” including some such as the famous Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq.

“As indigenous peoples, we are constantly in this type of argument to try to justify why our lives and perspectives are just as precious [as others]and just as equal, ”she said.

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“How in 2020 do we still have this conversation. ”

Qaqqaq also suggested that she believed that money was what would decide if the Edmonton team changed its name.

“Can we put a price on respect for the Inuit?” she asked. “Honestly, I think that’s what it could be summed up. ”

The National Football League’s Washington Redskins announced Monday that it will change its name and logo, which have also been criticized as racist and offensive. The team said the decision to propose a new name and logo had been triggered by a review of the club name which had started earlier this month.

READ MORE: Washington NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name and logo amid protests against racism

The Eskimos survey, which is conducted by Abacus Data, asked respondents if they followed the story about the name of the Washington football team and if they support its modification.

In February, the Eskimos said the latest results from their ongoing consultations with the Inuit indicate that there is a “range of opinions” regarding the name of the CFL team, but no consensus has been reached. to support his change.

Last week, a number of corporate sponsors and team partners said they supported the club’s commitment to consult with the Inuit to see if the name change.

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Another sponsor, Boston Pizza, said, “As part of a larger change to our overall marketing strategy, Boston Pizza recently ended its sponsorship of the Edmonton CFL team.” He tweeted the statement in response to someone asking if he planned to follow Belairdirect’s example.

Corus Entertainment, the parent company of Global News, is a long-standing partner of the team.

–With files from Aleksandra Sagan of La Presse Canadienne and Kirby Bourne of 630 CHED

Watch below: Some Global News videos on the name of the Edmonton CFL team.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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