Mayor Don Iveson wants the Edmonton Eskimos to consider changing the team name at the conclusion of the CFL playoffs.
The contentious debate sparked up again on Wednesday, when Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman was asked if the Eskimos’ name was offensive.
Bowman, who is Métis, is the first Aboriginal mayor in Winnipeg’s history.
“I think there’s an opportunity to have a more inclusive name,” he said. “That’s ultimately a decision for the team and I will obviously respect that. If you’re asking, I’m going to give you the truth. I’ve voiced my thoughts on the team name.”
Bowman said he discussed his concerns with Iveson, who confirmed an informal conversation took place while the Eskimos were in Winnipeg for the 2015 Grey Cup.
Iveson believes the team is taking the debate seriously but that it’s an issue that won’t go away any time soon.
“When the position of the National Inuit Organization and its leader is that the term is considered derogatory by many of his people and by his national organization, I think that is difficult to not give serious weight to that feedback.”
With the city poised to host the 2018 Grey Cup, Iveson says there needs to be a conversation about the team name.
For its part, the Eskimos say that conversations are ongoing and they are keenly listening to all input, including from their season seat holders and fans.
In a statement to Global News on Wednesday, the club added: “We use the Edmonton Eskimos name with pride and respect.”
The Eskimos are in Winnipeg this weekend to take on the Blue Bombers in the CFL West Division Semi Final. The winner will visit the Calgary Stampeders in the West Final.
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