Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq to Eskimos: If you really “seek to understand” start by changing your name

Photo courtesy: Mumilaaq Qaqqaq

Nunavut member of parliament Mumilaaq Qaqqaq has called for the Edmonton Eskimos to change their team name.

The Esks released a statement following the senseless murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 and ensuing peaceful protests around the world.

It read as follows:

“We seek to understand what it must feel like to live in fear going birding, jogging or even relaxing in the comfort of your home. To feel unvalued. To feel used. To feel persecuted — add to that reliving the pain on social media, while also trying to survive a global pandemic and a massive economic collapse. We stand with those who are outraged, who are hurt and who hope for a better tomorrow.”

The 27-year-old New Democratic Party member responded on Twitter: “The injustices for individuals that are racialized is horrible. I stand with our black friends across the border. If you really ‘seek to understand’ start by changing your team name. Stop feeding into stereotypes and offensive names. We are NOT a mascot. Nunavut’s Inuk MP.”

The Eskimos stated in February the franchise would be increasing its engagement in Canada’s north following an extensive year-long formal research and engagement program with Inuit leaders and community members across Canada.

The research and engagement program primarily revolved around the team’s name. The program included: meetings with Inuit leaders and community leaders in Iqaluit, Inuvik, Yellowknife and Ottawa; a research phase with a combination of in-depth interviews with Inuit across the north and in Edmonton; and a telephone survey among a broad group of Inuit across Canada.

It doesn’t appear the Eskimos met with Qaqqaq and her sentiment towards the current name of the team is clear.