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To: Len Rhodes, President and CEO of the Edmonton Eskimos

Edmonton Eskimos: It's Time to Change the Name

Edmonton Eskimos: It's Time to Change the Name

#ChangeTheNameYEG

I’m a proud fan of the Edmonton Eskimos. Have been my whole life. The team has been an integral part of the City of Champions since 1949. We've won the Grey Cup a record 14 times, and this year, we've got a great shot at number 15. Across the country, Eskimos fans are known for their grit, their spirit, and their loyalty.

I'm also proud of my city for recognizing the simple fact that the name of our beloved football team is offensive, derogatory, and outdated.

For years, Inuit leaders have asked the team to change the name. Last week, Mayor Don Iveson backed up their call.

Now it’s time to take action.

Why is this important?

"What a glorious message it would be to send to our country if @EdmontonEsks changed their name," tweeted the Polaris-Prize winning Inuk singer Tanya Tagaq singer last summer. "It would set a new precedent of respect." [1]

The word ‘Eskimo’ — an archaic and derogatory term for Inuit people — has no place in the lexicon of a proudly diverse, inclusive, and progressive city like Edmonton. We’ve all known this for a long time, but for some reason, we’ve ignored it.

In 2015, Natan Obed, the president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, a national Inuit organization that represents Canada's 60,000 Inuit, officially requested that the team change the name:

“The word Eskimo is not only outdated, it is now largely considered a derogatory term. It has never been our term. When Inuit mobilized in the 1970s to protect our rights, we started using the term Inuit to describe our people because that is our way of describing ourselves. No other society has a right to impose their terminology upon us…

Indigenous people deserve to be treated with respect and as equals. In the spirit of the enormous amount of work that has been done in Canada to achieve true and lasting reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians, I call on the owners of the Edmonton franchise to change the team name to a non-Indigenous moniker.” [2]

The request is a simple and reasonable one. Sure, there will be pushback — we’ll need a new logo, a new mascot, a new rally song… but why would we let that stop us?

It’s 2017, and there is no legitimate place for unchecked racism, especially not within a beloved public institution that represents our city on the national stage.

Real reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples requires us to look closely at how we treat and portray Indigenous peoples in society, and to determine whether it is fair, accurate, and respectful.

Across North America, the #ChangeTheName movement is growing. Let’s show the world that Edmonton is not only the City of Champions, but the City of Leaders, too.

[1] Tanya Tagaq on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tagaq/status/895343120564588554?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&ref_url=http%3A%2F%2Fedmontonjournal.com%2Fnews%2Flocal-news%2Fpaula-simons-time-to-hear-tanya-tagaqs-eskimos-challenge

[2] https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/attention-edmonton-eskimos-inuit-are-not-mascots/article27512855/

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Reasons for signing

  • As an Edmonton Eskimos fan, to show respect and share that the name is offensive and outdated.
  • Everyone deserves dignity and kindness!
  • It's time to change, especially because we know now. Next up Washington Redskins!

Updates

2017-11-21 22:20:18 -0500

1,000 signatures reached

2017-11-19 13:22:14 -0500

500 signatures reached

2015-12-01 17:23:05 -0500

100 signatures reached

2015-12-01 07:30:05 -0500

50 signatures reached

2015-11-30 18:48:03 -0500

25 signatures reached

2015-11-30 15:24:45 -0500

10 signatures reached