Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Stop, Eskimos, Stop: Inuit Group Wants Edmonton CFL Team to Change Name

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Stop, Eskimos, Stop: Inuit Group Wants Edmonton CFL Team to Change Name

Article excerpt

Inuit group wants CFL Eskimos to change their name

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EDMONTON - Canada's national Inuit organization says the storied Edmonton Eskimos Canadian Football League franchise should change its name.

"It isn't right for any team to be named after an ethnic group," said Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, which represents Canada's 60,000 Inuit.

"If anyone was to call me an Eskimo, I would be offended by that."

The term Eskimo is a relic of a past in which Inuit people had no control over their lives or even what they were called, said Obed.

"This is part of the past. It isn't part of the present and shouldn't be part of the future.

"I think it's time Inuit made the statement that it's not acceptable to use our people as mascots."

Although questions have been raised about the team's name before, Inuit groups have never joined that debate. Obed said now's the time -- especially with the team playing in this weekend's Grey Cup championship game in Winnipeg.

"With the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's calls to action fresh in our minds, all sectors of society should be contributing to the ongoing reconciliation," said Obed.

Justice Murray Sinclair, who headed the commission, said recently that it's time to get rid of indigenous mascots, which would never be tolerated if they targeted any other cultural group.

It's important to stand with other Aboriginal Peoples who have objected to sports teams using their names, Obed said.

"I recognize that there may be absolutely no ill will or disrespect intended. It still is a vestige of colonialism, of a different time where it was OK for Canadians to speak of Inuit as Eskimos," he said.

"There are a number of things that were OK in Canadian society that aren't any more, and this is one of them."

Eskimo team officials have consistently defused the issue by saying they have never had an official complaint. …

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