Edmonton CFL team sticking with Edmonton Eskimos, will increase engagement with Inuit community

The Edmonton Eskimos are sticking with their name.

The club made the announcement Friday morning, but said it would be “increasing its engagement with Canada’s north.”

The announcement comes after a year-long research program with Inuit leaders and communities across Canada, the team said in a media release.

According to the club, the program included meetings with Inuit and community leaders in Iqaluit, Inuvik, Yellowknife and Ottawa.

The club says there were a “range of views” regarding the team name, but no consensus emerged to support a name change. Therefore, the club has decided the team will remain the Edmonton Eskimos.

There was also 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.

“The research program provided the club with many insights,” said Janice Agrios, chair of the board of directors. “A key learning for us was the desire of northern communities to increase the club’s engagement with them.

“As a result, we have invested the time and resources to create a Northern Community Engagement Program and will continue to engage with Inuit leaders and community members to strengthen the ties between the club and the Inuit community.”

The club says the Northern Community Engagement Program held school visits in Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk in October 2019 and seven communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region have asked about holding similar programming in their communities.

Players and other representatives will be in Norman Wells — a town in the Northwest Territories — in March for a one-day school visit and a two-day youth gathering.

“Since launching the Northern Community Engagement Program, we have been warmly welcomed in the communities that we have visited,” Agrios said. “The consistent message was ‘come back and come more often.’ We are the CFL’s most northern team and we want to continue to build our relationship with the Inuit community.”

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