Edmonton’s CFL team has confirmed its name will change. For the time being, the team will be known as the “Edmonton Football Team” or “EE Football Team.”
“While many fans are deeply committed to keeping the name, others are increasingly uncomfortable with the moniker,” a news release from the team stated.
“The long-term viability of the club requires everyone to get behind this change and continue to support the team, especially during these challenging financial times.”
The recent focus on Edmonton’s name follows years of criticism that the word Eskimos, as the team was known, is derogatory and offensive to Inuit.
Prominent Inuit including Nunavut MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq, artist Tanya Tagaq, filmmaker Alethea Arnaquq-Baril, chef Sheila Flaherty, writer and scholar Norma Dunning, and singer songwriter Susan Aglukark had all publicly called for the franchise to change its name.
However, some leaders in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region said they did not oppose the team’s decision earlier this year to keep its name.
Edmonton in February said it would retain the name after two years of research by public relations firm Edelman.
However, once the NFL’s Washington franchise said its name would change earlier this month, Edmonton issued a statement acknowledging “a lot has occurred” since its research took place.
Tuesday’s statement said the team would now go through a “process of determining a new name befitting our storied team.”
The team has had the name Edmonton Empire trademarked since 2018, though there remains no confirmation from the team that it will look to use that name in future.