In a serious and committed recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30, the Canadian Football League (CFL) and its nine member clubs have announced a series of initiatives developed in close consultation with Indigenous leaders and communities spanning the length and breadth of Canada.
The CFL Commissioner, Randy Ambrosie, emphasized that remembering past tragedies and understanding their continued effects on Indigenous families and communities is critical. He voiced the league’s solidarity with all Canadians in nurturing reconciliation and fostering constructive dialogues for a healthier and stronger Canada. The league’s endeavours correspond with several Calls to Action proposed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, notably actions 83, 87, 88, and 92.
The upcoming Week 17 will witness CFL clubs, including Winnipeg Blue Bombers and BC Lions on September 29, and Ottawa REDBLACKS and Hamilton Tiger-Cats on September 30, engaging in a multitude of activities to commemorate this day. The visiting teams will join their host counterparts to honor local Indigenous communities. The Edmonton Elks, enjoying a bye week, will nevertheless partake in team and community initiatives.
An array of orange and white pre-game jerseys will be donned by players league-wide, a united front recognizing residential school tragedies and expressing solidarity with survivors and their families. The jerseys will later find ways to community members and organizations, either through raffles and auctions, benefiting Indigenous initiatives, or through direct donations.
A rich tapestry of activities awaits, ranging from Indigenous-designed logos and celebratory events to community engagements and in-game recognitions. The initiative extends to hosting Indigenous personalities, including leaders, youth, and residential school survivors alongside showcasing performances by Indigenous artists in various mediums. A notable feature is the use of Indigenous languages for anthem rendition and starting lineup announcements.
To foster understanding and initiate meaningful conversations, the league office, alongside teams, will roll out content spotlighting Indigenous culture, communities, and ties with football. This content aims to highlight the integral relationship between the Indigenous community and football, showcasing Indigenous leaders, artists, athletes, and more, to be disseminated widely through social media channels and partners TSN and RDS.
Learning and Education
Underlining the activities is a robust educational framework encouraging learning and reflection. CFL teams will facilitate interactions with Indigenous leaders and organizations to enhance understanding and answer questions surrounding truth and reconciliation, thus encouraging a culture of learning and reflection.
As CFL takes this step of cognizance and understanding, the core message remains clear – a pledge towards continued efforts in facilitating a safe, healthier, and stronger Canada through awareness, deep relationships, and constructive dialogues. All Canadians are urged to immerse themselves in this spirit of reconciliation, making strides towards a united future forged in truth and understanding.
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