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Better to change Edmonton Eskimos’ name than have lingering divisiveness

Well, valued readers, hopefully by the time you’re reading this I’ll be self-isolating in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, watching the world drift past for the first two weeks of my vacation.

As much as I’m looking forward to recharging my batteries, I know it won’t be long until I’ll be heading back home to Rankin Inlet and getting ready to start my 23rd year at the helm of Kivalliq News.

And, who knows? I may not need the jet to get back to Rankin because I’ll be walking on both air and water if my beloved Maple Leafs capture Lord Stanley in this, the most bizarre of years.

And, speaking of bizarre years and the changes Covid-19 has brought into our lives, I must admit to being somewhat of a cheerleader the past few months as I watched each and every community in the region come up with ways to keep spirits high during these most challenging of times.

It’s utterly amazing what the Kivalliq is able to accomplish – and the strength the region is able to display – when the communities unite and everyone is on the same page.

And that is my cue to segue into the ongoing saga of the Edmonton Eskimos football team.

It doesn’t matter what side of the fence you sit on, whether the name is honestly offensive to you and you want it gone forever, or you wish Inuit leaders would concentrate more on real issues – health, housing, education, cost of living, availability and access to country food and food insecurity – that can make a real difference instead of pitting east vs. west, Inuk vs. Inuk, etc.

And that is precisely why it’s great news that Edmonton is finally going to drop the Eskimos nickname and come up with a new moniker for its CFL team.

All one has to do is take the time to look – to really look – at the division between Inuit this issue has caused and realize it’s far better the change is made and we all move forward from here.

Some of the remarks made that pitted Inuk against Inuk were downright chilling.

And, for one of the very, very few times in my 20-plus years here, I saw many a Northerner voice their opinion on the issue with absolutely no respect for those who felt differently, and absolutely no regard for the feelings of others and the pain their words may have been causing.

There can be no winner when a topic can cause so much anguish and be so divisive among a people who know their strength depends on them speaking with a unified voice.

Hopefully, now that this is finally about to come to a close, those who wanted the change will not cry victory in the faces of those who did not.

And, similarly, those who did not want the change have to resist any feelings of resentment towards those who did.

Both sides of that coin can only lead to open wounds that will prevent healing and, if nothing else, surely we all realize the damage that can be done when we leave ourselves no room for healing.

And, if anyone thinks healing is a little too strong of a word to use in connection to the name of a professional sports team, I invite them to read the volumes of comments left on many a page in the world of social media.

Picture it any way you want for whatever reasons you have, but if all don’t agree to accept the decision and move on; the dropping of the name will ultimately do more harm than good.

You simply can’t have it both ways.

Food for thought.