Six Nations and Mississauga artist designed Toronto Rock jerseys for Indigenous Heritage Night

By TRT Staff with notes from

HAMILTON — The Toronto Rock Indigenous Heritage Night Game Worn Charity Auction will feature the jerseys, shorts and helmets that were either worn or issued for the Toronto Rock’s home game on Saturday, April 16

For the night, the game will feature the Six Nations Minor Tyke 1 and Tyke 2 teams will play against each other and the Six Nations Minor Lacrosse Association will be selling balls for a ball toss.

And there’s a lot behind the jerseys the Toronto Rock will wear this Saturday night as they play against the Halifax Thunderbirds at the First Ontario Centre. The jerseys were designed by none other than Tracey Anthony from Vision Artworks of Six Nations.

Artist Tracey Anthony studied drawing and painting at The Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, Ontario, Canada for four years. Anthony has original works in the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, Ontario, The Collection of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, and the Woodland Cultural Centre located in Brantford, Ontario.

Anthony’s heritage is both Haudenosaunee and Mississauga descent; his mother is Mississauga of the Credit First Nations reserve and his father was Delaware, Lenape from Six Nations. In his artwork, Tracey incorporates Anishnaabe, Lenape, and Haudenosaunee influences in conjunction with many mixed media.

The jersey design contains three main design elements: the eagle clutching lacrosse sticks, the Hiawatha Belt, and the four-colour diamond shaped motif.

The four-colour diamond shaped motif is loosely based on beadwork and wampum designs. It represents the four colours of the medicine wheel: red, black, white and yellow. The four colours hold many various meanings but in this jersey design, they indicate the four corners of the world and the different peoples of the Earth. Lacrosse was gifted to the people of Turtle Island and has been shared with the world.

The story that was provided on the Toronto Rock website highlighted much of the incorporated symbolism found in the design work.

In Haudenosaunee history, the Peacemaker was sent by the Creator to spread teachings found within the Great Law. With the help of Hiawatha, the Peacemaker taught the laws of peace, power and righteousness to the five original nations of the Haudenosaunee. The Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, and Mohawk peoples came together to form the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Later, other nations would join the league and the five nations would become six nations, including the Delaware, Wyandot, Tutelo and Tuscarora. The Peacemaker appointed an Eastern White Pine to become what was called the Great Tree of Peace. Within Haudenosaune culture, eagles are considered messengers and will warn the confederacy of approaching enemies—this is found within the imagery of the artwork.

Lacrosse, called the Creator’s Game, was a gift from the Creator to be played to raise the spirits of the people, determine political decisions without war, heal, and unite the people. In the design, the eagle is depicted carrying lacrosse sticks.

The Hiawatha Belt is a national belt of the Haudenosaunee. The belt is named after Hiawatha, the Peacemaker’s helper and the first Haudenosaunee chief. In this belt, it records when five nations buried weapons of war to live in peace. Each square represents a nation and the line connects each nation. The centre symbol represents Onondaga by land mass, where the peacemaker planted the Tree of Peace. There, the Peacemaker also set the council fire. Onondaga was appointed as the place where the nations leaders will meet.

He then used the symbolism of the longhouse in the belt: to the west, he named the Senecas as the Keepers of the Western Doork, and the east, the Mohawks as the Keepers of the Eastern door. As for the Onondagas, he named them the Firekeepers, entrusted to ensure that the council fire of the Haudenosaunee continues on. This belt was made when the Haudenosaunee was formed before the first Europeans came to Turtle Island.

The game worn charity auction will run online at the Toronto Rock website until April 19 at 8:00 p.m., EST.

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