News / Edmonton

One in five Canadians say Edmonton Eskimos name is 'unacceptable': Poll

Young people are more likely to find fault with the name

A helmet belonging to a Edmonton Eskimos player is seen on the field during a team practice session in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015.

JOHN WOODS / The Canadian Press

A helmet belonging to a Edmonton Eskimos player is seen on the field during a team practice session in Winnipeg on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2015.

Slightly more than one in ten Albertans believe the name and logo of the Edmonton Eskimos is "unacceptable," according to a new poll from Insights West.

But 71 per cent of people in the province think the name of the CFL team is "acceptable."

The marketing company conducted a survey after debate over the name was rekindled earlier this month by Mayor Don Iveson, who urged the team to listen to comments from the Mayor of Winnipeg and consider a new name.

Natan Obed, president of the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, has also called for the team to re-think the name, telling Metro last November that "I don’t ever want to be called that term."

"I played sports — I grew up playing hockey, and I’ve been called a 'dirty Eskimo' and a 'n*****.'  I’ve been called all sorts of names, and I know just how deeply those things hurt and how deeply they change perception of yourself," he said.

Eskimos CEO Len Rhodes said in a statement at the time that the club "always aims to respect all members of the community and will continue to do so."

Nationally, 21 per cent of Canadians agree the name is "unacceptable," according to Insights. The poll also found that 57 per cent of people found it "acceptable," while 23 per cent were undecided.

The use of Indigenous names for sports teams has ignited fierce debate in North America, with critics taking aim at monikers like the Washington Redskins, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chilliwack Chiefs and the Chicago Blackhawks.

According to the poll, Canadians are most disapproving of the Redskins, with 27 per cent of respondents deeming it unacceptable.

In a release, Insights West Vice President Mario Canseco points out there are big differences in demographics, particularly age.

“While the level of animosity towards the reliance on these five current names and logos is not extraordinarily high among Canadians, there are significant differences when it comes to age,” he said.

“Sizeable majorities of residents aged 55 and over think all names and logos tested are acceptable, but the proportion drops markedly among those aged 18-to-34.”

Women (24 per cent), and those who voted Liberal in the 2015 federal election (26 per cent) were more likely to say the Eskimos name was unacceptable.

Results are based on an online study conducted by Insights West from October 24 to October 26, 2017, among 1,005 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region.

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