Edmonton Eskimos logo is pictured on November 3, 2012. At least one of the Edmonton Eskimos' sponsors plans to cut ties with the Canadian Football League team unless it changes its name, while other corporate partners say they are watching closely for results from the team's "ongoing engagement" with Inuit communities. (The Canadian Press/John Ulan)

Edmonton Eskimos football team to accelerate review process of team name

The Canadian Football League’s Edmonton Eskimo’s are accelerating their ongoing review process for the team’s nickname, according to a statement the team tweeted on Wednesday.

“We take this issue seriously as has been demonstrated by the three years we’ve spent engaging in Canada’s north and conducting research related to our name,” Rose Mary Phillip, the Edmonton team’s vice-president of marketing and communications, said in a statement to Radio Canada International. “We will be seeking further input from the Inuit, our partners and other stakeholders to inform our decisions moving forward.”

She added that the team intends to complete their review as quickly as possible and will provide an update by the end of the month.

The news comes a day after one of the team’s longtime sponsors spoke out against the nickname. Belairdirect, which is a car and home insurance company, said in a statement that in order to continue their partnership with Edmonton, they would need to see concrete action in the near future, including a commitment to a name change. 

“At belairdirect one of our core values is respect, which is founded on seeing diversity as a strength, being inclusive and collaborative,” the company said in a statement to Radio Canada International. 

Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Ltd., which has a product partnership with the team, said that they’ve had a conversation with team management about their concerns with the nickname.

“We support an open, thoughtful dialogue about the team’s name in the spirit of equality and respect for everyone,” Coca-Cola Canada Bottling Ltd. said in an emailed statement. “We have asked them to strive for consensus about their name in their community engagement activities with Inuit communities as soon as possible.”

Back in 2015, Natan Obed, the president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Canada’s national Inuit organization, raised concerns about the team name and said that the term eskimo is outdated, derogatory and a vestige of colonialism.

Earlier this year, the team concluded that there was no consensus to support a name change after a year long research and engagement program with Inuit leaders and community leaders in Iqaluit, Inuvik, Yellowknife and Ottawa.

However, last Friday, the Edmonton Eskimos put out a statement that said it would increase its engagement with Inuit communities, in response to new calls for the team to change its nickname.

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