Eskimos not changing their name after consultations with Inuit: CEO

Edmonton Eskimos president and CEO Len Rhodes says the team will not be changing the team’s name – at least for now – after consulting stakeholders in Inuit communities in the Northwest Territories.

“It’s premature to talk about scenarios down the road. Right now, at this point in time, we have no plans to change our name,” Rhodes told the CBC. “But I think there are loads of opportunities in terms of things we can do with the community, even with our current name.

“We wanted to speak to the people in the northern communities, the Inuit communities specifically, and to have a direct conversation. It was seen as a sign of respect to have taken the time to go up there and meet them in person.”

Some Inuit leaders say the term Eskimo, which means “eaters of raw meat,” is derogatory and was given to their people by others. They say it’s a relic from days when northern Indigenous people had no control over their fate or even the name by which they were known.

“Inuit are not monikers. Inuit are not mascots,” said Natan Obed, head of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada’s national Inuit group. Obed raised the issue three years ago.

“The use of that term in Canada and the use of that term as a moniker for a professional sports team outside our society is not acceptable,”

Rhodes says the team plans to continue its consultations

“There are those that say it’s irrelevant and there are those that say it’s worse than that. But there are many people who feel the name is OK and it’s actually one that they’re proud of being associated with,” Rhodes said. “It’s the first step in a long process. It’s the starting point, but certainly not the end point.”

– with files from the CBC and CP


52 Comments on Eskimos not changing their name after consultations with Inuit: CEO

  1. JoeSchmuck27 // July 3, 2018 at 3:42 pm //

    Wonderful news. The PC crowd has taken things way too far imho

    • My guess is that PC crowd doesn’t watch football anyways. Although that would never stop them from meddling into other’s affairs.

      • I watch every CFL game including the preseason and agree with a name change if that is what the Inuit community wants. I like to be able to wear my Ticats gear proudly everywhere I go knowing that it represents good values. If I was an Eskimos fan, I’m not so sure. I wouldn’t want to walk around with a name or logo that offends people who have been here much longer and have a deeper connection to the land than me. Maybe I’m being PC, but I just think it’s common decency.

        • Meathead // July 3, 2018 at 5:59 pm //

          But why would you be offended with the Eskimos name if the vast majority of Indigenous people are not?

      • Bunny Muffin // July 4, 2018 at 12:47 pm //

        I agree. Hard to keep up with all the pc issues. I’ve always thought of it as a sigh of respect for another culture.

    • Puck Hog // July 3, 2018 at 6:52 pm //

      Schmuck, EXACTLY!

  2. nor should they change it !

  3. The Calgary Stampeders Vs. The Edmonton Eskimos.
    That’s how it should be. I don’t think I could get used to anything else.
    I’m sure all the liberal SJWs won’t be satisfied however.

    • TheLastArgoFan // July 3, 2018 at 4:57 pm //

      No one cares what you think.

      BTW, how is it that you are not the first poster on this story?
      Did you actually forget to press “refresh” on your keyboard continuously?

  4. dangnabbit // July 3, 2018 at 4:08 pm //

    Pretty clear the Eskimos brass designed this consultation exercise to give a voice to those who aren’t complaining so this was definitely the expected result. Nothing wrong with that, but acting surprised is silly.

  5. Lots of people were absolutely outraged when the story broke last week about the Edmonton team consulting certain communities. Well, it turns out you were outraged (and may still be) at the mere fact of consultation. How dare someone ask members of a community how they feel?

    • Prove me wrong // July 3, 2018 at 4:43 pm //

      ExPat. I believe that the “outrage” was expressed against change the teams name, not in the consultation process.

      • But no one said they were changing the name. They said they were talking with the community, and people were outraged.

  6. What about all us Canucks who find out when we go to the States that many considered that word s derogatory term to use against us? Or the improper spelling of Maple Leaf? Or a team from Quebec calling itself Canadiens? Or will Aboriginals and People of African descent become hyper about the Ottawa team?

  7. Sitting down with the Northern Indigenous people is absolutely the right thing to do to ensure that the Eskimos Football Club respects the use of the name. I would bet that this isn’t the last time we hear someone calling for the changing of the name however.

  8. If these names are degrading the people they’re intending to represent then fans should be decrying their use. I’m over 70 years of age and followed the CFL since the Lions joined in 1954 and to me the name Eskimos meant that these are players who can thrive in harsh conditions!

    Other than the war chants, the native and indigenous names for sports teams suggest bravery and courage in the face of being hunted and harmed by larger, more well armed
    invaders not blood thirsty savages.

    We’re taking cultural misappropriation too far these days.

  9. With the legalization of cannabis I’m seeing some terribly creative names for new products, Manitoba High-dro, Rona Ambrosia, and a few others.
    Once a “Blue Bomber” becomes the equivalent of a Rolling Rock I’m hoping this discussion comes up again.
    Do stoners want their favourite product using the name of a mediocre football club??

  10. Good! It’s a historical name that was never offensive, and now it only refers to a football team, not the people of the north.

    “They say it’s a relic from days when northern Indigenous people had no control over their fate or even the name by which they were known.”
    -Two points. One, they do have control over their name. They asked people to start calling them by the name they call themselves, the Inuit, and that’s what we now do. They are not Eskimos they are the Inuit. The Eskimos are now just a football team. Two, calling them Eskimos in the first place was not a slight or a sign of a power imbalance. This is just what Europeans did, and still do. They have their own names for each other. Germans don’t call themselves German. Swedes don’t call themselves Swedes. Spaniards don’t call themselves Spanish. I think they should all do what the Inuit did and ask to be called by the name they call themselves, but they seem content to call each other by their own names.

    “…the term Eskimo, which means “eaters of raw meat…”
    – It’s disturbing that 3DN continues to repeat this falsehood. What they are essentially doing here is exploiting the Inuit and this situation for the sake of cheap sensationalism. They are fanning the flames and stirring up trouble by continually repeating something they must surely know isn’t true.

    • Evil Empire // July 3, 2018 at 7:39 pm //


      Good post.

      The article says “ some Inuit leaders… “ . I call BS on the writer of that nonsense. It’s attention, and publicity hog Obed. And he brought this garbage up way longer than three years ago. This garbage has been news in Edmonton for a cpl decades, or so. And the Inuit ppl always come out in support of the team, and name. Do your bloody homework, and you’d know that.

      If you’re wanting to get into political, or mainstream journalism. Get it bloody well right. Or just stick to what alot of ppl on here seem to think you’re only mediocre at, to begin with…CFL Football.

  11. MR. Green // July 3, 2018 at 6:03 pm //

    Stampeders is offensive to men who have been hit in the junk!

  12. Edmonton Eskimos = respect and class

  13. Ticats63 // July 3, 2018 at 6:21 pm //

    Common Sense prevails!
    A rare moment to celebrate something which seems to happen far too infrequently in this country.

    Of course now the Lefty Idealists will have to find something else to complain about, to justify their next government grant.

    GO ESKS! (except against the Tabbies!) Oops, can we say “Tabbies” without offending some cat lover somewhere – it only takes one!

  14. Clearly a wise PR move by Edmonton since they don’t want media covering potential protests during the week of Cup festivities. Likely this will temporarily placate the northern communities and First Peoples. As with so many issues in this era, before assuming, it is important for people to actually get perspectives from various sources. Media seems to focus nearly exclusively on a singular perspective.

  15. Billy Rafoss // July 3, 2018 at 6:50 pm //

    But the article says the Inuit believe it to be pejorative. So if there was consultation, why not change it? Or are you ignoring the consultations? Try changing it to Newfie or Ukes for a day and see how far you’d get. #getoutofthedarkageseskies

    • “But the article says the Inuit believe it to be pejorative.”
      -No, it doesn’t say that, and by not being honest about what the article says it’s you who is trying to take advantage of the Inuit. The terms Newfie and Ukes are not the same thing at all. An equivalent would be us calling Germans Germans when they call themselves Deutsche, except that we no longer call them Eskimos. They are the Inuit.

      And that one guy who does say he’s offended doesn’t seem to know the history or the current use of the terms. There are no teams that call themselves Inuit. There are no teams who us or have used Inuit or Eskimo mascots. He seems to be thinking of the Cleveland Indians situation, which is completely different.

  16. Evil Empire // July 3, 2018 at 7:23 pm //

    I said it before. The majority of the Inuit community are proud of the team, and their name. Many of them have been asked many times by the press. It is not a slight at anybody. It never has been. And if attention hog Obed listened to his own ppl he’d know this. It’s a personal project designed to keep this clown in the news. Why don’t they vote this guy out ? You’d think the Inuit ppl may have more important issues facing them than the name of a sports franchise is Edmonton that has nothing to actually do with them. And the ones that do feel the connection are mostly in favour of it.

    The team should have put it to rest forever. By simply saying the name is NEVER being changed. Because it won’t be. But, the president seems like a weak piece of trash anyway. He allowed TSN to dictate who the GM of the Eskimos would be. What a goof.

    If you honestly want an end to the CFL. Change the name of the Eskimos. I guarantee the league won’t exist a decade later. Because many fans not just of the Esks, but of the league will turn away right on the spot. The team would lose massive amounts of fans. They would fold, and the dominos would keep falling.

    Somebody will always find offence in something. And if we give in to this. Where will it bloody well end ? If you think I’m wrong about that you’re delusional. So if you’re that offended. You can make your displeasure known by walking away now. But, nobody ever does. Because they know how ridiculous it is.

  17. Reggiemac // July 3, 2018 at 7:34 pm //

    Really? Taking to Inuit peole instead of Esimos. Indigenous people in ye wrstern arctic are Eskimos I n the eastern Actice they are Inuit. The Westen Arctic is now Alaska so Cansda doesnt have Eskimos.

    • brian johnson // July 3, 2018 at 7:59 pm //

      And that’s great, so using Eskimos as a name is a none issue, Eskimo Beer sounds great. Cheers

  18. Chris Robertson // July 3, 2018 at 7:42 pm //

    Excluding the National Association of Inuit People and their National President Natan Obed made this Edmonton Eskimos Consultation a totally flawed process that is totally without credibility. Make no mistake about it; “the fix was in” and the CFL is allowing their franchise and Grey Cup Host to continue using a Racist Name that is disrespectful to Canada’s Indigenous People. The CFL is NOT LISTENING and has ignored calls from the Mayor of Edmonton, the Premier of Alberta and the Prime Minister of Canada to CHANGE the name…

    • So you’re saying that if someone wants to know your opinion on an issue they should just ask Trudeau? The leader always speaks for you does he? Ridiculous. I think it’s clear what Natan Obed thinks so there’s no point in asking him. I think it’s also clear that like you he doesn’t seem to know, or care about, the facts of the issue. It’s also clear that a great many Inuit disagree with him. The name Eskimo is not racist and never was racist. In fact I would say that in this context you calling it racist is in itself racist, because without understanding the issue you are trying to exploit it and the Inuit for the sake of your own grandstanding. If you actually had any respect for the Inuit you would take the time to understand the issue.

  19. Big mistake. CDN history is full of inappropriate terms and phrases. Mentally handicapped were often referred to as i d i o t s in Dr’s notes and institutional documents. This was commonly used until the 1970’s. White people mistakenly thought the native word squaw meant a native woman, when it actually refers to a native females private parts. This terms was used until a few years ago, see Squaw Rapids. Both of these have been phased out in normal everyday CDN society. Eskimos is another example of an outdated and insulting term.

    • You were correct, or at lest correct in spirit, right up until your last two words. The word Eskimo is not and never was insulting, although it is now outdated as a term to describe the Inuit and other norther peoples. Today it is only a name for a football team. Keep in mind that it was never a direct reference to the people we now call Inuit. I believe other teams called them that because Edmonton is the most northerly team. They were saying, “You are like the people of the frozen north.” And the Eskimos took that with pride and began calling themselves by the name, essentially saying “Yes, we are people of the frozen north, and proud of it.”

  20. MR. Green // July 3, 2018 at 8:14 pm //

    Worst case scenario, Rough Riders may be available.

  21. Seems like a missed opportunity to appeal to younger fans. I guess it will have to wait until the boomer fan base has thinned out a bit more.

  22. I guess the New York Yankees should change there name then too. Its offensive to Americans…. isn’t it??? Same with the Vancouver CANUCKS for Candians.

    • Paul Bomber // July 4, 2018 at 1:10 am //

      … uhh… I don’t know. I’ve been a Canuck many, many moons and I’ve never, ever, ever heard anyone take offence at “Canuck”. Look up “Crazy Canucks Alpine Skiing”. I think it’s the same thing with “Yankee”. Someone says “Canuck” and then spits on the guy’s boots, well….that’s a little different.
      Anyway – I don’t know why everyone was so upset about having the conversation. To say there is zero controversy with the name is just wrong. There is, that’s apparent.
      But, they had a respectful conversation, made a clear decision and said the conversation is there to be had again if warranted. Ask me and I say this is a win for Edmonton – so people complaining about even having the discussion should give this a second look. Not “PC Garbage”, but people doing the adult thing, not ranting and raving – not that you were “ranting” or anything like that… and this is too long now… nobody is going to read this anyway…. go Bombers.

  23. Chris Robertson // July 4, 2018 at 1:01 am //

    To anyone who thinks the name Eskimo is not offensive I invite you to please Google the phrase:

    Eaters of raw meat

    • To anyone who is still promoting the myth that the name Eskimo means “eaters of raw meat” please google “Eskimo etymology”, or simply look on Wikipedia.

      All too often these days these self-righteous types are just jumping on a bandwagon without doing any fact checking to learn even the basic facts of the issue. THIS IS NOT WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A PROGRESSIVE!

      I further ironic twist to this is that even if it did mean eater of raw meat that’s not offensive either! Steak tartar is raw meant. Sushi is raw meat. Having your steak blue is basically raw meat.

  24. RoyalBlue // July 4, 2018 at 6:23 am //

    It is important to remember that none of you talking about the meaning of the name are Inuit. You can’t claim what a community thinks, or that “a majority likes the name” when you are not a part of it. Communities are diverse, there will be some who love the name and some who despise it. The consultation process is important and it is not “PC” if that process results in a name change. Is it PC that we no longer refer to black Canadians by derogatory names? Is it PC the words we use to describe women had changed since the 1950’s? Our society changes over time and so does the language we use. Even the name Eskimos for the team was a nickname that eventually became the official name. If it changes again that isn’t a big deal, and would be amazing if it changed due to an organization consulting with a group of people.

    • Odd post, which really says nothing but kind of suggests a few things? To know what a community things you can do a survey, or you can simply go out and talk to people, which is what the Eskimos have done. You don’t need to be Inuit to do either of these things.

      What you are doing here my mentioning the derogatory names for black people and women is called a false equivalence. Those terms are nothing like the word Eskimo. As has been mentioned, the word Eskimo is like the word German we use to describe the people from Deutschland. Except in our case the Inuit have said that that they would like us to call them by the name they call themselves, the Inuit. I think that’s a perfectly reasonable request, which makes all the sense in the world to me, and in fact that’s exactly what we now call them. As you mention the meaning of words changes over time, and today the word Eskimo in Canada only means a football team. This is a progressive solution. The Inuit are called by the name they wish to be called by, and the historical name of a football team is preserved. This is a win-win. In today’s climate of fake news, knee-jerk reactions, and grandstanding all while pretending to be taking a progressive position it’s all the more amazing that a true progressive solution can be achieved here by consulting with a group of people.

  25. Comment section looks like a lot of white people arguing about what Indigenous people do and don’t want.

  26. Tiger man // July 4, 2018 at 10:30 am //


    Was this a consultation or just lip service…

  27. I’ve got an idea to settle this issue…..MONEY. All of a sudden there would be no issue anymore.

  28. riderontheisland // July 4, 2018 at 1:56 pm //

    I can’t find a definition of Eskimo that backs the PC claim/fear of “eaters of raw flesh”. Actually they point it out as being erroneously and even if it was accurate, so what. It’s hundreds of years old and accurate, but not insulting because they are far from ashamed of eating raw meat. I can’t stand PC groups that stir the pot with nothing invested themselves. IF there is a group that needs your help, then knock yourself out, but until then drop dead

  29. patlynch // July 4, 2018 at 6:07 pm //

    The Chicago Blackhawks symbol is that of Sauk Indian chief. It appears to be a symbol of respect and nobility . Contrast that with the Cleveland Indians Chief Wahoo which is degrading . The Edmonton logo of a double E is not offensive but if the Inuit see the name Eskimo as offensive, then change it to the Tundra, or the Polar Bears, Oil Barons, …… . My Tiger-Cats used to be the Tigers and Wildcats, neither of which are native to Hamilton. Most team names are innocuous but let’s not name the Baltimore NBA team the Bullets or the Washington NFL team the Redskins. Words have consequences even if they don’t bother us personally.

  30. RabidTicat // July 5, 2018 at 1:04 pm //

    Bring on the Edmonton Cooked Vegetarians. That name will strike fear into the hearts of every red-blooded Canadian, not just the CFL fans! What about the Greek population of Canada, do we leave them out. After all the original Argonauts made a pit-stop on the Isle of Lesbos – oh, maybe that is progressive!

  31. patlynch // July 8, 2018 at 8:04 am //

    Team names like Blue Jays, Cardinals, Dolphins, etc., are not meant to strike fear in people. Hopefully, people would be less receptive to the Boston Shanty Irish or the Nashville N-words . If Trump owned a team would they be called the Braindeads or would that be too progressive for you ? Words have meaning and consequences .

    • Rabidticat // July 8, 2018 at 9:10 pm //

      Really? Vikings, Blackhawks, Hurricanes, Lightning, Jets, Flames, Giants, Blue Bombers, Avalanche, Bruins, Bears, Redskins, Raiders, Rams, Devil Rays, Bulldogs, Sting, Sabres, Spitfires, Knights, Wolves, Storm, Battallion? All names designed to strike fear in the opponent. The cultural names, too. It is a tip of the hat to fearsome and respected combatants on the battlefield. Only snowflakes and SJW’s would interpret it as anything else.

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