By TRT Staff with notes from NLL.com
PHILADELPHIA – On January 17, the National Lacrosse League (NLL), announced its expanded support and awareness schedule for “Every Child Matters.”
The initiative is set to be league-wide and will bring awareness to the forcible placement of Indigenous children in residential and boarding schools by the Canadian and United States governments from the 19th century to as late as 1996 in Canada.
In the campaign’s second year, all 15 teams will participate in the program, which will run from Week 9 (Jan. 23-29) through Week 11 (Feb. 6-12) of the 2022-2023 season. Then for the remainder of the season, players will wear specially designed helmet decals supporting “Every Child Matters.”
All 15 NLL teams will be involved, either as host or as a road participant, with a planned home activity later in the season for some teams. Players will sport the NLL’s “Every Child Matters” logo on a specially designed warmup shirt, along with the helmet decal. The league will also produce audio and video messaging for broadcasts on TSN and ESPN. Additional content will be incorporated into NLL.com and league social channels, as well as into game presentations.
Several NLL teams played games and conducted youth programs on Indigenous reservations earlier this season, with Philadelphia facing off against Georgia on Nov. 26 at Tsha’ Thoñ’nhes (Where They Play Ball) Arena at Onondaga Nation. Meanwhile, Las Vegas, San Diego and Halifax played a mini tournament in Akwesasne at the A’nowara’ko:wa Arena (colloquially called the Turtle Dome). This was the first of more in-person events ranging from clinics to other happenings that are currently in the planning stages and will be announced later in the season.
For “Every Child Matters,” the league created a new logo for this season with designer Justin Gilbert of Kuvua Designs. Justin was selected due to his work in support of Indigenous organizations and his connection to the cause, being born and raised on the Southern Ute Reservation.
Fans will be able to purchase cotton shirts through the league’s online stores. For every shirt sold, the NLL will donate the proceeds to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund in Canada and The National Native American Boarding School Heal-ing Coalition in the United States.
The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF) aims to build cultural understanding and create a path toward reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. DWF provides education on the true history of Indigenous Peoples in Canada and the lasting impact of residential schools through their programming, partnerships and events that build awareness, education, and con-nection between all peoples in Canada.
The mission of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) is to lead in the pursuit of understanding and addressing the ongoing trauma created by the United States Indian boarding school policy. NABS’s work is centered around seeking truth, justice, and healing for survivors and descendants of Indian boarding schools.