February 05, 2016

Alaska Airlines' "Meet Our Eskimo" campaign

Alaska Airlines apologizes, removes ‘Meet our Eskimo’ phrase from website

By Annie ZakAfter an outcry from members of the Alaska Native community, Alaska Airlines has removed the line “Meet our Eskimo” and replaced it with “Meet the Eskimo” on its website, alongside the airline’s updated branding it unveiled earlier this week.

The phrase referenced a slight redesign of the iconic image on the tail of Alaska Airlines' aircraft, an Alaska Native's visage long referred to as the Eskimo.

“When Alaska Airlines unveiled our refreshed brand earlier this week, a reference we used, ‘Meet our Eskimo,’ offended many in the Alaska Native community, and likely others,” said Alaska Air Group CEO Brad Tilden in a statement. “We apologize and take full responsibility for this insensitive reference.”

The company replaced "our" with "the" early Thursday morning, but the line had already touched off a discussion among Alaska Natives and others about its appropriateness and the general use of an unnamed Alaska Native as the Alaska Airlines logo.
Alaska Native’s discuss what ‘Eskimo’ means to them

By Charles EnochAfter Alaska Airlines unveiled a new look for their airplanes and website many Alaska Natives took offense to a phrase they with their new marketing campaign. The phrase that sparked a controversy and a new round of conversations about what the word “Eskimo” means to Alaska Natives.

Alaska Airlines unveiled their new airplane and website designs late last month. Both prominently feature the familiar face of a smiling Alaska Native elder. The website also included the phrase “Meet our Eskimo” which was quickly changed to “Meet the Eskimo” But does the change go far enough?

“I would rather be called ‘Inupiaq’ because that’s what I am and my children are Yup’ik,” Blossom Twitchell, from Kotzebue, said. “I want them to be able to connect to their culture and people won’t group us in as little people that live in igloo’s and give little Eskimo kisses all the time, we are so much more than that.”

“We have culture and traditions that have been passed down for generations and I don’t believe the word Eskimo does our heritage justice.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Improving the Alaska Airlines Logo and The Alaska Airlines Eskimo.

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