In case you missed it yesterday, former NHLer and human wrecking ball Jordin Tootoo made a public statement on his social media accounts regarding the name of the CFL’s Edmonton Eskimos.
Tootoo, of course, is native to Nunavut in Canada’s arctic and has done incredible outreach work with Canada’s indigenous communities from coast to coast. Tootoo isn’t just a guy who talks the talk, when it comes to speaking up for his community, he talks the talk.
That’s why when Tootoo made his statement yesterday, people took a moment to stop, listen and learn.
Check it out:
I have to say, in a world where people are constantly looking for the next thing to be outraged by or they’re searching for the hot new “pet cause” to get riled up about, this is the most rational, measured response to a complicated issue than I can remember in a long time.
Tootoo lays it all out. The term “Eskimos” isn’t hurtful to him. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not hurtful to others and the team has an obligation to be clear on its intent the use of the term. Do they call themselves the “Eskimos” in reverence and respect to Canada’s Inuk culture? Or is this a silly cartoonish name that just happens to go well with the city name Edmonton?
Intent is everything and now it’s on the Eskimos franchise to prove their intent.
And, in fact, the team has done that issuing a statement earlier this week saying:
The Edmonton Eskimos conducted an extensive research and engagement program with Canada’s Inuit community regarding our team name. We announced the findings from that program several months ago which included the fact that there was no consensus among the Inuit people and considerable support for the Eskimos name among Inuit in various parts of northern Canada. We recognize that there has been increased attention to the name recently and we will ramp up our ongoing engagement with the Inuit communities to assess their views.
The team has also launched the Northern Community Engagement Program where as a way to ingratiate themselves in Northern Inuit communities and help foster and support those communities.“Since launching the Northern Community Engagement Program, we have been warmly welcomed in the communities that we have visited, says Janice Agrios, Chair of the Board of Directors. "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,” Agrios said. “This is a very important initiative for us.”