Don’t change the Edmonton Eskimos name, and here’s some summer homework for prudent parents

Changing team names is a knee-jerk reaction

Re: “Edmonton Eskimos will search for new name,” July 23.

In calling for the Edmonton Eskimos to change their name, Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, claims: “It isn’t right for any team to be named after an ethnic group.”

Yet persons of Scandinavian descent are not seeking a name change for the Minnesota Vikings.

Jordin Tootoo, an Inuit athlete, views the Eskimo team name as a tribute to qualities of an Indigenous people worth emulating: thriving in a cold climate, mental and physical toughness, resilience.

Edmonton is the largest northernmost city on the continent. Winter often arrives in October and playoffs aren’t until November — in a windy stadium without a dome.

Fans not only cheer on the Eskimos, they identify.

Taking offence when none was intended, then demanding redress for hurt feelings are all too familiar. Justin Trudeau validated that when he apologized for having worn blackface years ago at costume parties: not that he intended to denigrate blacks, but because that offended some.

He could have cited Black is Beautiful — a movement in the U.S. that spread to South Africa and helped bring down the racist Apartheid regime.

And in the process, he would have honoured Canada’s multi-ethnic nature.

By coddling offended feelings detached from reality, Trudeau reinforced the notion that emulation of people of colour, including Indigenous, is mockery.

In these uncertain times especially, sports teams should be encouraging hardiness and inclusiveness and leading by example, as are the Chicago Blackhawks.

They have said Black Hawk was an inspiring leader and are keeping their name and Indigenous logo.

Dave Baugh, Sylvan Lake

Summer homework for prudent parents

As a teacher who spent over 30 years in K-3 classrooms, I have a couple of suggestions for parents to prepare those children for the fall.

1. Masks. Since they are not going to be mandated, if you hope your child will wear one, at times, that is up to you.

Do not expect the teacher to monitor the wearing or the whereabouts of the mask. You have six weeks to model.

Mask up together with your child when you go to a store. Ask him/her to wear one on your summer playground visits.

But, just as important is care of the mask off the face. Designate a certain pocket of the backpack that it gets returned to, as soon as it is removed.

Otherwise, it will be lost and end up in the garbage.

“On your face or in your case,” was what I used to say to young eyeglass wearers.

2. Buy a fine permanent marker to label every pencil, glue stick and pair of scissors you send to school, in a zippered pencil case.

Most parents would be surprised at how difficult it is for some children to keep track of their pencil from hour to hour. And that loaner bin of things found on the floor is not going to be available this year.

3. In the same way that grocery shopping takes more time, most things at school also will. Picture, if you can, lining up 24 first graders to leave their classroom, last spring.

Now try to picture that same event when every child is two metres away from others.

Teachers care about students’ health and safety. But remember, they were hired to advance your child’s learning.

They are not health-care workers, nor are they child-care workers. Teachers and parents want the same thing … what is best for those students.

It should feel like a partnership.

Nancy Bain, Red Deer

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