Tootoo says Edmonton team name discussion should centre on feelings of Inuk people

Tootoo says Edmonton team name discussion should centre on feelings of Inuk people

Jordin Tootoo says he doesn’t find the Edmonton Eskimos’ team name objectionable, but that doesn’t mean the CFL club should keep it.

Edmonton promised to speed up a review of its name and provide an update at the end of the month after at least one of its sponsors announced it plans to cut ties with the team unless it changes its name.

The team has seen repeated calls for a name change in the past and faces renewed criticism as sports teams in Canada, the United States and elsewhere are urged to remove outdated and sometimes racist names and images.

Tootoo, the first Inuk to play in the NHL, said in a statement released Wednesday that the discussion should be “around how the Inuk people feel” about the term. He said some might feel pride while others might feel hurt.

“We should all understand what the term means to the Inuk people,” he said. ”My father’s generation connects this term to describe who they are. He would refer to himself as an Eskimo. My generation refers to itself as Inuk. What is important to me is that people understand this. And, when referring to the Inuit people, they respect that we refer to ourselves today as Inuk.

“I understand there are names of sports teams that bring back feelings of oppression for people and I can see why those names should be changed,” Tootoo added. “So, this makes me ask the question, does the term Eskimo for the Edmonton franchise bring back feelings of oppression for Inuk people? For me, it does not. That is not a reason to keep the name. There could be others for whom it does create those feelings.”

Tootoo said the team should explain why it originally chose its name.

“Was it racially charged, or, was it because of admiration for the ability of the Eskimos to thrive in cold climates, for their mental and physical toughness and for their resilience?” he said. ”My point is that context really does matter. And, they need to be honest with themselves and with the public. Truth goes a long way.”

Tootoo, from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut, played 13 seasons in the NHL with Nashville, Detroit, New Jersey and Chicago. The 37-year-old retired in 2018.

CFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Physicians often face aggressive patients

Almost all say they have been abused by patients or their families at some point

Alberta’s active COVID-19 cases continue to trend downwards

85 new cases Tuesday, active cases sit at 1,004

Vigil held in Maskwacis for another death

Samson Cree Nation comes together for comfort, console each other

Charges likely in fatal attack at central Alberta medical clinic: RCMP

A vigil was held Monday night to mourn the victim

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Joe Biden selects California Sen. Kamala Harris as running mate

Harris and Biden plan to deliver remarks Wednesday in Wilmington

Donations pour in for family of doctor killed in Red Deer attack

Man has been charged in connection to death of Red Deer doctor

Cuts to environmental monitoring budget In Alberta’s oilsands are viewed as reckless

The 2019-2020 budget saw $58 million dollars being dedicated to environmental monitoring

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Police investigating after insults, expletives yelled at federal minister’s staff

A 90-second video circulating on social media appears to have been shot by the person who was yelling

Rent-relief program becomes new front in fight between Liberals, opposition

Opposition trying to draw parallels between decision to have Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. run program and the WE controversy

Ottawa sets minimum unemployment rate at 13.1% for EI calculation

Statistics Canada says the unemployment rate was 10.9 per cent in July

Most Read