As Rugby Canada acknowledges a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we spotlight several Canadian rugby clubs and the Pacific Pride who have all included Indigenous led designs and symbols on their jerseys.
September 30, 2022 (Langford, BC) – As Rugby Canada acknowledges a National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we spotlight Canadian rugby clubs, including the Kamloops Rugby Club and the Peterborough Rugby Club, who have included Indigenous led designs and symbols on their jerseys. The Pacific Pride Academy, the national high-performance men’s program, have committed to warming up in orange shirts for all their matches this season. The Pride, University of Victoria and Trinity Western University will also wear special jerseys in October that will be auctioned off to support the Thunder Indigenous Rugby program.
Kamloops Rugby Club
Earlier this year in May 2022, the Kamloops Rugby Club auctioned off their 2021-22 jerseys with proceeds benefiting Kamloops Youth Rugby Development and Thunder Indigenous Rugby.
The interior B.C. club launched a special jersey at the start of last season to support the Every Child Matters movement after the remains of 215 Indigenous children were discovered on the site of a former Residential School in Kamloops.
The club held a special ceremony at Exhibition Park to bless the jersey before the women’s team kicked off their season against Simon Fraser University in 2021.
The jersey, designed by club member Chris Chan after he was approached by alumni and sponsor, Troy Young, features Kamloops’ traditional purple paired with orange instead of their traditional gold. An “Every Child Matters” memorial armband was also included on the left sleeve.
Peterborough Rugby Club
In 2018, the Peterborough Rugby Club reached out to a few of their active players from the nearby Indigenous community of Curve Lake, Ontario. The club wished to show their support and appreciation to the Indigenous players for their contribution of growing the game in local Indigenous communities.
Upon consultation with their players and members of the Curve Lake community, Peterborough Rugby Club decided to include the Indigenous medicine wheel on their jerseys. On May 12, 2018 the new set of Peterborough home jerseys were worn on the field for the first time, with medicine wheel on the right sleeve.
“It makes me incredibly proud to have it on the jersey,” said Curve Lake resident and rugby player, Jimmy Taylor. “To me the medicine wheel is a symbol of unity. We all have a place; a role and we are all connected. Culturally, each colour has a different meaning; north, east, south, west, mind, heart, body, spirit, plants and animals. It covers it all.”
Pacific Pride Academy
The Pacific Pride have committed to wearing orange warm-up shirts supplied by Macron for the entirety of the 2022-23 season. The shirt will feature a Thunderbird design that was initially created for Rugby Canada a few years ago.
The following is the description from Bradley Dick, the artist who created the Thunderbird design:
“The thunderbird is the first nations design of the Vancouver Island. The thunderbird is a powerful being in many of the island nations. It is said the sun when it wished to be in relations to being of mother earth has the ability to transform into a thunderbird. This thunderbird is powerful and when flying, when its wings flap, it is believed to cause thunder, when it opens it eyes, it is believed to cause lightening. These attributes and gifts I hope guide the Canadian teams to move like the thunder and to get tries as quick as lightening. May they work with foresight like the sun and shine for our state as they move through the year. May they lead with heart and compassion with the relationship they will form like the thunderbird.”
In addition, the Pride, University of Victoria Vikes and Trinity Western Spartans will all wear special Thunderbird jerseys for one game in October in support of Indigenous communities and the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The jerseys created for the Vikes and Pacific Pride were designed by Trey Hunt of the Kwaguilth Nation, while the Spartans’ jersey was designed by John Lyall of the Musgamagw. Each jersey will also have an "Every Child Matters" logo created by Andy Everson.
Organized by Thunder Rugby, all proceeds from the jersey auction will support their program. One that is dedicated to introducing rugby to Indigenous youth and growing the game in Indigenous communities across Canada.
University of Victoria Jerseys: September 27 – October 1 https://www.32auctions.com/vikes
Pacific Pride Jerseys: October 1 – October 15 https://www.32auctions.com/pride2022
Trinity Western Jerseys: October 16 – October 29 https://www.32auctions.com/TWU