These are the racist sports team names in Canada that people want changed
Canada has racist sports team names; let's just get that out of the way first. From grassroots local teams to major sporting leagues, some of the team names perpetuate negative racial stereotypes of Black and Indigenous Canadians.
The Edmonton Eskimos are perhaps the most recognizable example in recent days.
The Canadian football team first came under fire in February for their team name, which has links to Inuit oppression.
The Edmonton Eskimos said they would ramp up consultation with Inuit leaders and the community to determine if a name change was required, but ultimately decided in early July to keep their name for the time being.
The team's decision was met with widespread backlash from Canadians across the country, including members of the Indigenous community.
"Why are you so committed to this name?" a member of the Lakota/Nish nations wrote. "You know it’s a slur, so why keep it?"
"One community? What program? Conducted by who WITH who exactly?" a Nunavut MP wrote. "The fact that there was NO CONSENSUS means CHANGE THE NAME. I look forward to hearing from you as the member of parliament for 25 of 47 Inuit Nunangat communities."
I was “consulted” and told y’all your name is offensive. I also told you that your “consultations” were bullshit because they were by invite only. If you’re really not scared to face Inuit while calling us eskimos, then hold a PUBLIC meeting in each town.— Alethea Arnaquq-Baril❄️ (@Alethea_Aggiuq) July 3, 2020
Now, Edmonton has changed their tune this week after pressure from one of their sponsors. They might change the name after all and people already have suggestions.
In Canada's Western Hockey League (WHL), the Moose Jaw Warriors' team name and logo have also come into question over the years for their links to Indigenous groups.
The hockey team's current logo is a red, silhouetted image of an Indigenous war bonnet.
In 2014, however, the Warriors came under fire for releasing a retro jersey from the 1980s that featured a more racist depiction of an Indigenous Canadian.
The Moose Jaw Warriors are re-releasing this retro Jersey. Hmmm. pic.twitter.com/uhCHIruerP— Nelson Bird (@nelsonbirdctv) February 8, 2014
While people are divided over whether the Warriors' name and current logo perpetuate harmful stereotypes, most agree that Indigenous leaders should be consulted on the matter.
"If Moose Jaw’s First Nations community wants Warriors to change, then change them," one person wrote.
"I believe these junior teams should reach out to the tribal councils of the tribes in their areas and get input," another person wrote. "As someone [with] proud Mohawk roots, I don't have any issues."
TPS QoW:— Guy Flaming (@TPS_Guy) July 3, 2020
Do you believe that CHL teams currently depicting First Nations imagery should change their:
(A) team name
(B) their logo
and if so, what should they change to?
Moose Jaw Warriors
Portland Winterhawks pic.twitter.com/lTePYnHY0U
Meanwhile, some Canadian universities have also been forced to address team names that seem to have links to the oppression of minority groups.
In April 2019, McGill University made the decision to switch their men's varsity team name from the Redmen to a new name after facing mounting public backlash.
Although the university says that it adopted the name in reference to the red hair of ancient Celts to honour the Scottish heritage of founder James McGill, the university acknowledged that the term is widely recognized today as derogatory to Indigenous Canadians.
"Inclusion and respect are at the core of our University's principles and values," Principal Suzanne Fortier said in a statement, adding that "pejoratives run contrary" to who McGill is as a community.
I am proud to be a McGill alumnus. I was never aware of any malicious intent or negative impact of the Redmen name while I attended. “Intention however benign, does not negate prejudicial effect.” Well reasoned decision by Principle Fortier. Let’s move forward positively.— Lance Curtis (@lbcurtis) April 12, 2019
Across the country in B.C., Simon Fraser University's (SFU) team name "The Clan" has also been called into question amid ongoing anti-racism protests across Canada.
Although the name refers to the region's Scottish history, an SFU philosophy professor told Global News that the name is frequently mistaken for the Ku Klux Klan.
A recent petition lobbying to change the name has racked up over 8,600 signatures as of Tuesday.
Yes, naming a sports team 'The Clan' is a problem. SFU should make a change.— Ian G. Baird (@Ian_G_Baird) July 3, 2020
And it's not just Canada that has team names that perpetuate negative racial stereotypes; our neighbours south of the border are also addressing their own problems.
In the United States, the Washington Redskins of the National Football League are considering changing their name after intense backlash from Americans across the country.
"We believe this review can and will be conducted with the best interest of all in mind," the team said in a statement.
Baseball's Cleveland Indians will also consider changing their name.
Some Canadians also take issue with the Atlanta Braves, Kansas City Chiefs and Notre Dame's Fighting Irish, according to an Angus Reid survey issued in June 2019.
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