TORONTO — On September 30, the Rogers Centre lit up with orange shirts as the Toronto Blue Jays hosted a ceremony for National Truth and Reconciliation Day.
At the event, a moment of silence took place before Sgt. Chantal Larocque of the Anishnabek Police service sang “O Canada” in English, French and Algonquin, with Six Nations Chief Mark Hill in attendance.
Larocque, told CTV News that she believes including Indigenous languages in the national anthem frequently would help Canadians work toward reconciliation year-round, not just one day per year.
According to the APSCOPS website, he Anishinabek Police Service serves 16 First Nations communities across Ontario today, formerly 3 in 1994. The organization has 71 sworn officers and 20 civilian members at 12 detachments.
Regarding the day, Nicole McCormick of Six Nations posted to Facebook, commending the entirety of the event on October 1: “Yesterday, on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day, I alongside my colleagues Asennaienton Frank Horn, Stan Judge, hosted special guests at Rogers Landing at the Jays game.
I feel blessed to have been surrounded by people I look up too and have worked closely with as I help Rogers take meaningful steps toward Reconciliation. Thank you to Grand Chief Kahsennenhawe Sky-Deer, Chief Mark Hill, our friends at Downie Wenjack Fund, Mike Downie, Kayleigh Jordan-MacGregor, Woodland CulturalCentre, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, Gary Maracle with the OPP [who caught a game ball!], and Kim Murray, the Independent Special Interlocutor for Missing Children and Unmarked Graves and Burial Sites for sharing space with us. Special shout out to Montana Adams for designing the Jays Care Foundation orange shirt and to Sgt.Chantal Larocque for singing the anthem in Algonquin, English and French. The sun was shining. I was surrounded by friends, new and old. It made the day easier to bear. Nia:wen. Thank you.”
Chief Byron Bitternose of George Gordon First Nation, Chief Jamie Wolfe of Muskowekwan First Nation, Chief Lloyd Buffalo of Day Star First Nation, and Chief LeeAnn Kehler of Kawacatoose First Nation were scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Members of the Touchwood Agency Tribal Council, part of the Jays Care Indigenous Rookie League, were on hand at the Jays Care Community Clubhouse.
Jays Care, the Blue Jays charitable foundation, also donated a total of $150,000 to 13 Indigenous-led organizations across Canada.