EDMONTON -- The Edmonton Eskimos of the Canadian Football League have decided to keep their team name despite concerns from some Inuit leaders.

The club says consultations in the North provided no agreement on whether the name should be changed.

"We heard a wide range of views, ranging from individuals within the Inuit community who were very supportive of the name, and some (who) weren't as supportive," Janice Agrios, chairwoman of the team's board, said Friday.

"What we did consistently hear was a desire for more engagement with the club."

Concerns were raised in 2015 by the head of Canada's national Inuit organization. Natan Obed has said that Inuit people are not mascots.

Similar concerns have been raised about other professional sports teams using Indigenous names or references.

Over the last year, meetings were held with Inuit leaders and people in the northern communities of Iqaluit in Nunavut, and Inuvik, Yellowknife and Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories.

The team also hired a research firm to do a telephone survey among Inuit, reaching as far eastward as Labrador.

Agrios said support varied geographically. Respondents in the Western Arctic were almost as supportive of the name as the team's season ticket-holders. In the Eastern Arctic, where most Inuit people live, support fell off.

National surveys have also been conducted that suggested a small majority of Canadians found the Eskimos name acceptable.

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