EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League are keeping their nickname despite some Inuit concerns.
The team met with Inuit leaders and people in the northern communities of Iqaluit in Nunavut, and Inuvik, Yellowknife and Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories. The team also hired a research firm to do a telephone survey among Inuit, reaching as far east Labrador. It did not disclose the results.
Janice Agrios, chairwoman of the team’s board, said Friday that respondents in the western Arctic were almost as supportive of the name as the team’s season ticket-holders. In the eastern Arctic, where most Inuit live, support fell off.
In 2015, days before Edmonton played in the Grey Cup, Canada’s national Inuit organization raised the issue of the team name, saying the Inuit are not mascots.
In a 2017 national survey, 57% of Canadians found the team’s name acceptable. American Inuit continue to use the word Eskimo, but Canada’s northern people dropped it at about the same time they began negotiating land claims in the 1970s.
“The plan is to continue to listen to all views,” Argios said. “If circumstances change, we’ll evaluate.”