Justin Trudeau, along with Indigenous leaders and other Canadian politicians, is urging the Canadian Football League team the Edmonton Eskimos to change their name.
“Eskimo,” is an outdated and altogether racist term for Inuit people. To respect and honour this Indigenous community, Trudeau has said that the CFL team’s name should be changed.
“This is a discussion and a reflection that the City of Edmonton certainly needs to undertake,” Trudeau said during a press conference held in Toronto, reports Maclean’s.
“Reconciliation is not just about Indigenous People and the government,” said Trudeau, “It’s about all of us as Canadians.”
Both Indigenous and non-indigenous people need to work together. Or, in this instance, non-Indigenous Canadians need to wake themselves up to the obvious racism inherent to a team name like the “Edmonton Eskimos.”
President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami Natan Obed, agrees that the name should be changed. Obed said the term “Eskimo” is offensive and a part of the past.
The term eskimo, Obed points out in an op-ed published by The Globe and Mail, is a derogatory term forced upon the Inuit community.
“No other society has a right to impose their terminology upon us” said Obed.
“The name is an enduring relic of colonial power.”
By keeping the team name the same, the Edmonton Eskimos are perpetuating colonial ideologies.
Several Canadian politicians agree it’s time to change the team’s name.
Alberta’s Premier Rachel Notley, Edmonton’s Mayor Don Iveson, and Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman have all made public comments saying that they’d like to see the CFL team make steps to change their moniker.
Edmonton’s CFL team is poised to host the CFL championships in 2018. Edmonton’s mayor says that would be a good deadline for a new name to be chosen.
The team itself has said that they’re “actively engaged in listening to the conversation that people are having around our name.”
All sides are being listened to, said a representative of the team, which isn’t exactly heartening. Not all sides have an equal say in this debate. Sorry, sports fans, but just because you grew up with the current name for the Edmonton CFL team, it doesn’t really give you the right to weigh in on this discussion.
If a historically marginalized community feels like their culture is being sullied because of a racist term, then the that’s all there is to the story.