The Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) and the National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association (NATOA) welcome today’s announcement from the Canadian Football League’s (“CFL”) Edmonton franchise of its decision to retire its team name. The abandonment of the use of an Indigenous moniker is a positive step to advancing reconciliation and respectful relations with Indigenous peoples.
Indigenous-led calls on the Edmonton CFL franchise to change its name have been made for a number of years. President Natan Obed, leader of the national Inuit organization, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (“ITK”), has called on the franchise to change its name since 2015, saying, “This issue is about our right to self-determine who we are on our own terms. We are not mascots or emblems.”
In recognition of the harm that the use of Indigenous names and symbols pose, collectively, over 1,400 sports teams have abandoned such names and mascots to date. The Edmonton CFL franchise’s decision to move away from the outdated racial moniker follows on the heels of the Washington D.C. National Football League (“NFL”) franchise’s similar announcement on July 13, 2020.
SHARE and NATOA applaud the Indigenous leaders whom have advocated for abandonment of racial monikers in order to advance social justice and reconciliation through the use of respectful and appropriate team names, mascots, and logos. We also commend the efforts of the Edmonton CFL team’s sponsors whom supported Indigenous leaders’ calls for this name change. These sponsors have demonstrated their commitment to reconciliation and reinforced the importance of diversity and inclusion throughout their business relationships.
As President Obed reflected earlier this week, “This was about social justice. It is about systemic racism. And it is really about Inuit self-determination. […] By this name being replaced, it ends one of those avenues for systemic racism to exist. And that to me is just so heartening in the face of so many other things that Inuit face every day.”
Since 2000, SHARE has built a community of values-driven investors who are committed to amplifying their voices in support of a sustainable, inclusive, and productive economy. SHARE is the leading non-profit investor voice on human rights and responsible investment in Canada, representing a growing network of institutional investors with more than $23 billion in assets under management. SHARE provides proxy voting analysis, shareholder engagement, education, policy advocacy, and practical research. Clients include pension funds, foundations, faith-based organizations, and Indigenous trusts, asset managers across Canada.
NATOA is committed to providing Indigenous Peoples of Canada with the resources and information that will help them efficiently create, manage, and operate trusts as a means to ensure the seven generations yet unborn, can benefit from the goals and dreams of the present generation. NATOA’s goal is to be a highly professional and relevant resource for Indigenous Peoples in becoming self-sustaining and vital economic communities.
Katie Wheatley, Project Lead, Reconciliation and Responsible Investment Initiative (RRII), SHARE
Mark Sevestre, Founding Member and Senior Advisor, NATOA