Canadian football team ‘discontinues’ nickname

Edmonton Eskimos quarterback Trevor Harris (7) throws the ball toward wide receiver Greg Ellingson (82) during first-half CFL East Final football game action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in Hamilton, Ontario, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)

Kolby KickingWoman

The team officially announced they will be the ‘Edmonton Football Team’ while it comes up with a new name

Kolby KickingWoman
Indian Country Today

Another one bites the dust.

In the wake of the Washington NFL team retiring their racist, Native-themed mascot a professional Canadian football team has also decided to discontinue their Native-themed mascot.

Things have changed quickly for the Edmonton football franchise.

Earlier this month, the team announced they would not be changing the name, citing an "extensive yearlong formal research and engagement program with Inuit leaders and community members across Canada,” according to The Associated Press.

Fast forward nearly three weeks and the name is being punted as if it were fourth down.

Willie Hensley, Inupiaq, told Indian Country Today he was happy to hear about the announcement and that it was about time it happened. He added he hopes the movement away from Native-themed mascots continues.

“We have vestiges of the colonial period all over North and South America, I’m glad Canada is doing something about it,” Hensley said.

In a Tuesday statement on the team’s website, the organization said the team will go by the EE Football Team and Edmonton Football Team until a new name is picked. A number of factors will go into finding a new name, including “research and engagement with season seat holders, casual ticket purchasers and partners.”

Janice Agrios, Chair of the Board of Directors, said the organization will continue their efforts to make positive impacts on the community, as well as putting the best foot forward on the field.

“Our team has a long history of winning – both on and off the field – and we will continue to do so going forward,” Agrios said. “We feel it is important to make this change in response to the findings of our recent engagement and research. Going forward, we want the focus to be on the work we do in the community and our team’s excellence on the field as the CFL’s most successful franchise.”

One individual on Twitter said it was about time. “Inuit and other Indigenous peoples face enough challenges as it is due to the #systemicracism in #Canada, the last thing they should have to care about is bullshit racist names like this one was.”

Media Indigena, an Indigenous current affairs roundtable, suggested changing the name to the “Edmonton Englishmen.”

(Previous story: Report: Canadian Football League team to change controversial mascot)

As of 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the team had already changed their name on Twitter but have yet to do so on Facebook.

The team is one of the more successful teams in the Canadian Football league, having won 14 Grey Cup championships in the team’s history behind only the Toronto Argonauts who have won 17.

As pressure continues to mount, it seems to be only a matter of time before more teams join the list of retired Native-themed mascots.

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Kolby KickingWoman, Blackfeet/A'aniih is a reporter/producer for Indian Country Today. He is from the great state of Montana and currently reports for the Washington Bureau. Follow him on Twitter - @KDKW_406. Email - kkickingwoman@indiancountrytoday.com

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