Calgary Hitmen host Every Child Matters game to address racism

It was a sea of orange at the Scotiabank Saddledome Sunday afternoon as the Western Hockey League hosted the second annual Every Child Matters game.

The Calgary Hitmen teamed off against the Swift Current Broncos in the match hosted by Siksika Health Services, which aims to to address stereotypes and racism by advancing inclusion communities through the promotion of Indigenous culture, language and history.

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Artists Jacob Alexis and Richard Running Rabbit helped design the Every Child Matters jersey that Hitmen players wore in the game.

The Calgary Hitmen in partnership with Siksika Health Services, unveilled the new jersey for the Every Child Matters game at the Scotiabank Saddledome Feb. 3, 2022. Courtesy: Candice Ward/Calgary Hitmen

Siksika Nation Councillor Samuel Crowfoot said the jersey carries a message.

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“This is an amazing, gorgeous jersey,” Crowfoot told Windspeaker.com. “But the reason for it is not something that we should be proud of as Canadians. It was really a genocide, a cultural genocide. It was vile colonization that deceived and deprived the language and the culture from the Indigenous inhabitants of this country.”

Crowfoot said he believes many Canadians still don’t know the true history of the country involving Indigenous people.

“I grew up on Siksika,” he said. “I attended high schools in Okotoks and Strathmore. And since Every Child Matters has come out, the national holiday, since Orange Shirt Day has gained more traction, people I’ve grown up with my entire life have approached me and said, `I had no idea.’ And that’s not by accident. That’s on purpose.”

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The game had been scheduled for January, but was delayed because of a jump in COVID-19 cases.

Mike Moore, Hitmen vice-president and alternate governor, admits he was among those who was not previously well informed of the country’s true history involving Indigenous peoples.

“I wasn’t as educated,” he said. “I didn’t have an understanding of Blackfoot culture, of First Nations, of the residential school challenges and issues.”

The Broncos won 3-0.

— with files from The Canadian Press’ LJI

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