By Gary Norris Gary, Staff Reporter
In 2015 the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Natan Obed called on the Edmonton Eskimos of the (CFL) Canadian Football League to change their name. Canada’s National Inuit started the ball rolling and this year it has become history. The Washington Football Club of the (NFL) National Football League continues to struggle with their name and logo. The political, social, racial, and economic difference between the United States and Canada is striking.
The Washington Football Club continues this 45 year battle with their name and logo as another NFL season begins in one month while across the border in Canada their professional football league keeps moving forward with their season opener and change for the Edmonton Football Team.
The Edmonton Football Team founded in 1949 announced two years ago that they would discontinue the Eskimo name. Edmonton has won 14 Grey Cups (CFL Championships) and won five in a row with African American quarterback Warren Moon 1978-1982. No other team in any league has accomplished this. Warren Moon agreed with the name change stated, “If something is insensitive to another group of people then that is something that we all should be concerned about.” The University of Washington Huskies star understood because of how he was treated in the NFL who shut him out after graduation in Seattle because he was a Black quarterback. Owners and head coaches wanted Moon to change position like many other Black college quarterbacks. Moon would finally play for the Houston Oilers, Seattle Seahawks, and Minnesota Vikings continuing to break passing records in both CFL-NFL leagues.
The Edmonton team moved away from the Eskimo term very quickly for racial harmony and unity unlike the Washington Football Club which continues to stubble with the Washington Football Team moniker. The Edmonton community owned club wanted to keep the double E logo brand when the search began. For those who do not know the Elks are formerly known as the Edmonton Eskimos in the CFL.
There were seven names that were suggested which would keep the double E brand including the Elks, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles, and Elements.
Just like the Washington Football Club (burgundy and gold) The Elks would keep their team colors-evergreen and gold.
The Eskimo First Nation/Native name has been tied to many other sports teams in the Midwest province of Alberta. The Inuit nations have told these sports teams that the name was derogatory and a 19th century colonial era term. Sound familiar it should because the Washington Football Club has fought the same fight in the United States with the R-Word for over 60 years.
The difference is the Edmonton Sports organization worked with the Inuit tribe to find a suitable name, not like the owners of the Washington Football Club who battled at every turn for change.
“Edmonton said it went with a plural version of “elk” that uses an “s” after consulting with linguistics experts from the Oxford Dictionary and the University of Alberta. That name proved popular “through all demographic categories,” according to the team.”
This past weekend the Edmonton Elks went on the field with the Ottawa Redblacks in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada for the first weekend of the (CFL) Canadian Football League.
The Washington Football Club will start another season without a name or a mascot.
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor News Radio Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
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