A Canadian singer has sparked praise and controversy during the NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City by changing the Lyrics of the Canadian Anthem to better recognise Canada’s Native People.
When Toronto singer Jully Black took the court to sing the Canadian national anthem “O’Canada” she made a small but significant change to song’s lyrics.
Instead of Singing ‘our home and native land’ Black sang “our home on Native Land.”
While Black received some criticism online, the move has been praised by advocacy group On Canada Project who came to the singer’s defense saying,
“It’s not a cute look to get offended about a one-time lyric change to a national anthem most of you haven’t thought about or sung since high school,” the group said in a statement on Instagram.
Speaking to Tornoto Life, Black says that growing up with land acknowledgements inspired her to make the change.
“I thought of what I did as a musical land acknowledgment, I consulted various Indigenous friends, I told them, “This is what feels right in my spirit, in my soul.”
Their response was very emotional, and they thanked me for my sacrifice.
I didn’t even think of it as being rebellious. I sang the truth. My parents immigrated to Toronto from Jamaica in 1968.
We’re settlers. Because I’m a first-generation Canadian, I find it easy to see that this is not our land,” she said.
The subtle change highlights Canada’s Colonial history as the nation continues to wrestle with centuries of mistreatment faced by the country’s First Nation People.
It’s estimated that 150,000 Canadian First Nations children were separated from their families during the 19th and 20th centuries.
Check out the full performance here.
Image Credit: Jyle Dupuis