Edmonton Oilers fans will hear a unique version of O Canada on Saturday night when Kiya Bruno, 14, takes to the ice at Rogers Place to sing in Cree and English.
“I’m really excited but a little bit nervous just because of the large amount of people,” said Bruno, a Grade 9 student at Wetaskiwin Composite High School and a member of the Samson Cree Nation.
The Oilers contest against the Nashville Predators is part of Scotiabank’s Hockey Day in Canada, which is being hosted in Yellowknife.
The theme this year is celebrating the North, and Indigenous people.
Edmonton’s game is being televised nationally so Bruno’s performance will be seen from coast to coast to coast.
“I’m really happy and proud I get to kind of just acknowledge our language,” she said, beaming with pride.
Last June, Bruno was chosen from a group of performers to sing the Cree Canadian anthem at a Toronto Blue Jays game. She sang the anthem at Rogers Centre in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day.
For the first time Canada’s national anthem has been sung in Cree at the home of the <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Toronto?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Toronto</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/BlueJays?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@BlueJays</a> . Kiya Bruno,13, from the Samson Cree Nation in Alberta, sang “O’ Canada” in Cree, for thousands of fans at the <a href=”https://twitter.com/RogersCentre?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@RogersCentre</a> – She spoke to <a href=”https://twitter.com/CBCNews?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@CBCNews</a> after the performance: <a href=”https://t.co/miAN9W2Pr5″>pic.twitter.com/miAN9W2Pr5</a>
Last Friday Bruno’s mom, Barbara Dumigan-Jackson, was contacted by the Blue Jays, who told her the Oilers were interested in getting her daughter to sing the anthem at Rogers Place.
‘I was kind of shocked’
“I was kind of shocked too at first because I didn’t think I was going to sing at the Oilers game, so that was a really great thing to hear from that day knowing that I would get to sing in my hometown,” added Bruno.
For Dumigan-Jackson, who is from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and Whitefish Lake First Nation, Saturday’s performance is going to be a moment the entire family is looking forward to. “It brings a lot of emotions and I have to like hold back my tears,” she said.
Watching from the crowd will be Bruno’s 60-year-old grandmother, Noreen Jackson. The teen said none of this would be possible without her kokum’s help.
“My kokum speaks Cree fluently, and I’m still learning as well, “she said.
“I’d like to really inspire others to just so they could also learn their Indigenous language too and not to be like say ashamed or something of it.”