The Edmonton Eskimos Football club fired back at Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman over concerns about the team’s name saying if he has any opinions he should share them.
“We use the Edmonton Eskimos name with pride and respect,” said the statement to APTN News. “If the Mayor of Winnipeg has an opinion he’d like to share with us, he should do so.”
The back and forth started when Bowman, who is Metis, was asked about the Edmonton team’s name in a scrum.
“I think there’s an opportunity to have a more inclusive name,” said Bowman.
The mayor also said he raised it with Edmonton’s mayor Don Iveson.
“The question was very direct have I had any conversations with him about this topic and I just provided an honest answer and the answer was yeah of course we’ve talked about it and I’ve expressed my views on it.”
And Iveson seems to agree with Bowman – saying the name Eskimos may have a negative effect on the festivities around the city hosting the 2018 Grey Cup.
“I think the issues not going to go away,” said Iveson Thursday. “I think the team is taking it seriously but there will have to be likely some further conversations after the season is over.”
The controversy around the team’s name is nothing new.
Over the years, many groups have criticized the term Eskimo – calling it an offensive term for Inuit.
That includes the group that represents Inuit in Canada – the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami.
“Edmonton’s CFL team can be a leader in Canada’s movement towards reconciliation by addressing this outstanding concern,” said ITK President Natan Obed in a statement. “And I look forward to further conversations with the Edmonton team leadership, the Edmonton mayor, and all other stakeholders in bringing positive resolution to this issue.”
On Twitter, a number of people had their say.
I’m not sure I’ve ever actually heard an Inuit person’s opinion on the Edmonton Eskimos name HOWEVER if a majority of them feel it to be an offensive term then who are we to tell them it’s not?
#ChangeTheName as "eskimo" is a colonial term used in a derogatory manner towards the Inuit and Yupik people. The name is unnecessary and inappropriate for a football team, and perhaps this decision can/will influence Dan Snyder. #NotYourMascot https://t.co/H4HQhZpbx1
— not taylor day (@kawisahawii) November 9, 2017
“At this point in time, we are actively engaged in listening to the conversation that people are having around our name. Those conversations are on-going and we are keenly listening to all input including from our loyal season seat holders and fans,” the statement said.
“We are always interested in hearing what people think within our community and elsewhere, on this topic or any other topic related to our Football Club.”
Edmonton is in Winnipeg Sunday to play for the Western Conference Championship in the CFL.