Regional recognition letters, a new practice for Toronto teams

Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, which owns both teams, understands that where the runway is located is the traditional area of ​​Credit Mississaugas Bank, Anishinabe, Chippewa, Haudenosaunee and Wendat, among others.

Angela White, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at MLSE, confirms that this letter of recognition of lands is useful Maintain the practice of remembrance.

Our indigenous peoples are the indigenous people of this country, and as non-indigenous peoples, it is our responsibility to recognize and respect this fact.

Quote from:Angela White, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, MLSE

This practice is common in Toronto, but it has never been widespread in the sports arena. The Maple Leafs first broadcast the message in March of 2020, then picked up the collar when spectators returned to the stands recently. The Raptors, who moved to the US during the pandemic, have made it a common practice during the pre-season schedule as well.

For Toronto FC and the Argonauts, who also belong to MLSE, a similar message is also broadcast on the giant screen of the BMO Stadium before their home matches.

A land recognition message is also broadcast prior to the Toronto FC and Argonauts matches at BMO Stadium.

Photo: The Canadian Press/Cole Burston

Angela White says her organization has made an effort to consult with members of the Indigenous communities to craft the message to ensure it is implemented in the right way.

Philip Cote, a famous artist from the Moose Deer Point First Nation, was among those who gave a helping hand.

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We have always been sidelined in the history books. This is the basis of systematic racism. Indigenous peoples were never asked about their culture, history, and lands. These messages of territorial recognition relate to history, land, and culture. They are alive, he explains.

This message, which we are all seeing now, is for the young people of the next generation so that they understand that Indigenous peoples are important enough to be considered and recognized in the public sphere.

Quote from:Philip Cote, member of the Moose Deer Point First Nation

In addition, the latter also produced artwork with the Toronto Blue Jays regional recognition letter. It is displayed at the Rogers Center, the home of the team.

A presentation that leaves something to be desired

Janice Forsyth, director of the Local Studies Program at Western University, was not convinced by the sincerity of these letters. She explains that the context in which they are presented to the public makes them suspicious.

It must be said that at Scotiabank as at BMO Field, these messages are broadcast on the giant screen before the interpretation of the national anthem, before players leave the playing area and during advertising breaks on television.

It’s good to see that the sports world is finally accepting truth and reconciliation. It is a pity that this happened so late. We are still six years after the issuance of the report (Truth and Reconciliation Commission). I wonder what work has been done behind the scenes and what conversations have taken place that take so long to get there, explains the person who is a member of the Cree First Nation of Fisher River in Manitoba.

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When you think about what a pre-game arena looks like – people walking around, not paying much attention and looking for their seats – it is often seen as pre-show entertainment, so it leads to the question of whether this gesture is really sincere and how it contributes to reconciliation.

In this regard, Angela White confirms that the message that now precedes the team matches MLSE It does not mean the end of the organization’s commitment but rather the beginning.

We believe that recognition of indigenous lands by itself is not enough. We continue to work by building relationships and programs influenced by Indigenous staff and leadersShe added, without describing concrete actions.

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