On March 28, the Ottawa Senators hosted President Clément Chartier, President Natan Obed and National Chief Perry Bellegarde at their game against the Florida Panthers. This was billed as an act of truth and reconciliation centered on the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, and those Indigenous peoples from across Canada who now make Ottawa their home.
Elder Claudette Commanda, along with Chief Kirby Whiteduck and her grandson, Caleb Buckshot Cody, represented the Algonquin people, with Caleb dropping the ceremonial puck to start the game. For the Florida Panthers, rookie Brady Keeper from the Pimicikamak Cree Nation took the ceremonial faceoff which he won and then presented the puck to Caleb.
A major highlight of the night was the singing of the American and Canadian anthems by Mary Nahwagabow, with the Canadian national anthem, O’Canada, sung in English, French and Anishinaabemowin to conclude the song which brought a rousing applause from the crowd.
While the Senators did not win the game, they certainly won the hearts of thousands of Indigenous peoples across Canada!!
In the spirit of truth and reconciliation, O’Canada was sung in English, French and Anishinaabemowin. Tonight’s ceremonial face-off featured Algonquin and Indigenous peoples and Florida Panthers rookie Brady Keeper, of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation. pic.twitter.com/C9xGFkHnBe
— Ottawa Senators (@Senators) March 29, 2019