TORONTO (September 15, 2023) – In consultation with Indigenous leaders and community members from across the country, the Canadian Football League (CFL) and its nine member clubs are set to join Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast in recognizing the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30.
“The tragedies of the past cannot be forgotten, especially when the impacts of those actions on Indigenous families, children and communities continues on,” said CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie.
“We stand with the entire Canadian football community and all Canadians in focusing on the future of reconciliation and supporting the healing process by spreading awareness, deepening our relationships and partnerships with Indigenous communities, and encouraging reflective and productive dialogue. There’s much more to be done, but we will always work to create a safer, healthier and stronger Canada.”
The initiatives to be conducted align with several of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action, including:
- No. 83 – Commemoration
- Nos. 87 and 88 – Sports and Reconciliation
- No. 92 – Business and Reconciliation
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’ Calls to Action are available here.
Week 17 includes games being hosted by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the BC Lions on Friday, September 29, and by the Ottawa REDBLACKS and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday, September 30 – the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. Visiting teams will join the host clubs in marking the somber occasion and honouring local Indigenous community members and groups. The Edmonton Elks, who will be on a bye week, will also take part in a number of team- and community-based initiatives.
ORANGE AND WHITE PRE-GAME JERSEYS
League-wide, all dressed players will sport orange and white pre-game jerseys in a unified acknowledgement of the tragedies of residential schools and as an unequivocal show of support for survivors and their families. Some pre-game jerseys will be raffled or auctioned with all proceeds going towards Indigenous communities and initiatives, while others will be donated directly to community members and organizations.
COMMEMORATIONS AT A GLANCE
Clubs will engage in various initiatives to recognize Indigenous community members and celebrate Indigenous culture, including:
- Creation and use of Indigenous-designed logos, with proceeds from associated merchandise being donated to various Indigenous groups and organizations
- Events celebrating Indigenous culture and artwork
- Community visits to connect with members and promote learning
- In-game recognition of Indigenous community members and groups
- Hosting Indigenous leaders, community members, groups, youth, and residential school survivors and their families
- Performances by Indigenous musicians, traditional drummers, throat singers, dancers and DJs
- The anthem will be performed, and the starting lineups will be announced, in Indigenous languages
- Orange shirt giveaways
CONTENT AND CONVERSATION
The league office and teams will create a variety of content to highlight Indigenous culture and community members, and to encourage meaningful dialogue. Content will be actively shared and amplified across social media channels and by TSN and RDS. Content pieces will include:
- Celebrations of the ties between the Indigenous community and football
- Team visits with Indigenous youth and organizations
- Highlights of team involvement with the Indigenous community
- Spotlights on Indigenous leaders, artists and community members
- Stories of Indigenous athletes
- Guest features on podcasts, including The Waggle and the Diversity is Strength Conversation series
EDUCATION AND UNDERSTANDING
Teams will welcome Indigenous leaders, community members and/or organizations to educate staff and answer questions surrounding truth and reconciliation. Various educational resources will be shared to encourage learning and reflection.