Ahead of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are reaffirming their commitment to truth and reconciliation and as allies with Indigenous peoples.
As part of this commitment, the team will focus on calls to action No. 87 to 92 as outlined in the truth and reconciliation commission of Canada’s report, which specifically pertain to sports and reconciliation and business and reconciliation.
“Everyone at the club was deeply affected by the discovery of 751 unmarked graves at the Cowessess First Nation earlier this year, as well as the similar heartbreaking discoveries on First Nations across Canada,” president and CEO Craig Reynolds said in a statement.
“Not long after, we determined we wanted to commit even further to our province’s Indigenous communities and use our sizeable platform to educate and inform the public on Truth and Reconciliation.”
From that desire to do more, the green and white created a task force made up of Roughrider staff and members of the Saskatchewan Indigenous community to determine the ways in which the Riders could be the best possible ally to Indigenous people and make the greatest impact.
This week, as the team gets ready to mark the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the team’s social media channels will focus on education and amplifying Indigenous voices and stories. Fans can expect to hear stories from Indigenous leaders and Indigenous players and alumni.
In addition, the team has committed to educating its own staff, coaches and players on the history of residential schools, how it impacted Indigenous culture and how we can all work towards reconciliation with workshops, led by Chief Cadmus Delorme of the Cowessess First Nation, happening this week.
On September 30th, the Roughrider business office as well as retail operations will close in reflection of this important day and its social media channels will ‘go orange’. Players, coaches and football operations staff will all wear orange shirts for media appearances on Thursday and for their walk-through on Friday.
“Our commitment to Truth and Reconciliation will not end this week,” said Reynolds.
“Over the coming weeks, months and years, in allyship with Indigenous leadership and communities, we hope to establish ourselves as leaders in the sports community while continuing to grow the participation of Indigenous children and youth in the game of football through financial support, programs, and opportunities.”
Over many years, the team and the Saskatchewan Roughrider Foundation have worked with Saskatchewan Indigenous communities and with Indigenous and inner-city organizations and charities to provide support for their programming.
This support includes, but is not limited to, the Northern Saskatchewan Football League, Grow the Game Camps, players speaking at Saskatchewan First Nations in partnership with the Red Cross, the North Central Regina Project — spearheaded by Makana Henry — at Scott Collegiate, financial support to Chili for Children in Regina and CHEP Good Food in Saskatoon during the pandemic and providing numerous opportunities for Indigenous youth and their families to attend Rider games.
The Roughrider Football Club’s promise is to be a leader in Saskatchewan actively showing an increased level of understanding and education as the province and nation move together towards collective healing and a commitment to do more.