With the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation — also known as Orange Shirt Day — falling on September 30 in Canada, six out of the nine teams in the Canadian Football League have worked with designers from their local communities to create Indigenous-inspired logos that will be used in some capacity this weekend. These logos showcase the work of Indigenous artists and highlight the teams’ commitment to recognizing and repairing the harm done to Indigenous people throughout Canada’s history.
“The tragedies of the past cannot be forgotten, especially when the impacts of those actions on Indigenous families, children and communities continues on,” CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said on the league’s website.
“We stand with the entire Canadian football community and all Canadians in focusing on the future of reconciliation and supporting the healing process by spreading awareness, deepening our relationships and partnerships with Indigenous communities, and encouraging reflective and productive dialogue. There’s much more to be done, but we will always work to create a safer, healthier and stronger Canada.”
Across the league, all dressed players will wear special orange-and-white pre-game jerseys during warmups “in a unified acknowledgement of the tragedies of residential schools and as an unequivocal show of support for survivors and their families.” Some CFL teams will raffle or auction off the jerseys to raise funds for Indigenous initiatives, while others will donate the jerseys directly to community members and organizations.
Here’s a look at all the Indigenous-inspired logos being worn this year:
The Ottawa RedBlacks unveiled their Indigenous-inspired logo on Saturday, September 23, and they’ll wear it on their helmets for their game against the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday, September 30. The logo was created by artist Mike Ivall, who lived with the Chippewas of Georgina Island early in his life before moving to Toronto. The colors of the circle behind the R represent the medicine wheel, which stands for “direction, unity, elements of the culture, and all of the races,” Ivall told the team’s website. “It’s everything that we hold value for.” And the line at the bottom right corner of the logo represents the creator. “I put him in everything,” Ivall explained. “For me, he is everything. The creator is me, and it’s you. We’re all connected through that. He surrounds everything. It’s a big part of me right now.”
The BC Lions introduced their Indigenous-inspired logo in 2021, and they’ll wear it on their helmets against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Friday, September 29. It was designed by by Kwakwaka’wakw/Tlingit artist Corrine Hunt. “I stylized the logo that brings the Indigeneity of B.C., the Indigenous roots here, and it is a reminder there’s another world that existed. We’re just discovering what that world was,” Hunt told BCLions.com.
WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers also introduced an Indigenous-inspired logo in 2021, which was designed by Anishinaabe artist Dené Sinclair and features a star blanket design inside the team’s usual block W. The Bombers will wear the logo on their helmets against the Toronto Argonauts on Friday, September 29.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats released their Indigenous-inspired logo on September 19. It was designed by artist Kyle Joedicke, who is Cayuga from Six Nations of the Grand River, Turtle Clan. The Ticats didn’t announce plans to wear the logo in their game against the Calgary Stampeders on Saturday, September 30, but they did say it would be printed on T-shirts sold through the team shop, with proceeds benefitting the Hamilton Regional Indian Centre.
The Ticats’ opponents on Saturday, the Calgary Stampeders, unveiled their own Indigenous-inspired logo on Sunday, September 24. It was designed by Jacob Alexis, Richard Running Rabbit and Siksika Health Services chief executive officer Dr. Tyler White, and is meant to emulate Contemporary Plains Style Traditional Art. More details on the symbols on the horse and their meaning can be found here.
The Edmonton Elks have a bye this week, but they held an Indigenous Celebration Night at Commonwealth Stadium back in August and wore an Indigenous-inspired logo on their helmet for that game. It was created by local Indigenous designer and tattoo artist Conrad Plews, who drew inspiration from a logo that Indigenous student Izaiah Masuskapoe submitted to the Elks in 2021.