Thank you to @TheJUNOAwards-winning trio The Bearhead Sisters from Paul First Nation for performing our special Indigenous Celebration Night rendition of O Canada in the Stoney Nakoda language! 🧡 pic.twitter.com/HtKFfleZXd
Veteran singing trio the Bearhead Sisters was in national spotlight Monday night when they took centre stage at the Oilers game in Edmonton’s Rogers Place arena, singing their hearts out to a special rendition of the Canadian national anthem while holding Keffiyeh in solidarity with Palestine.
The Juno Awards-winning musical group from Paul First Nation graced the Oilers barn to mark the Indigenous Celebration Night organized by the club as part of their efforts to recognize the culture, talent and creativity of Indigenous communities across Oil Country.
The Bearhead Sisters, who performed O Canada in the Stoney Nakoda language, were seen holding and wearing keffiyehs, a traditional headdress worn by people from parts of the Middle East, as part of their outfit during the one-minute performance.
The presence of keffiyehs was seen as a show of support for Palestine by many Canadians seated in the arena and on social media as the Indigenous group was cheered on for blessing their eyes with a “never seen before” show of power in Canada.
“The Bearhead Sisters are holding Palestinian keffiyeh in solidarity. Have never seen this before in Canada. Incredible,” posted journalist Shireen Ahmed on X, formerly known as Twitter.
Another social media user thanked the Bearhead Sisters for inspiring them to find “the guts to speak out” against the loss of civilian lives in Gaza and stand in solidarity with Palestine.
“Turns out a keffiyeh goes well with a ribbon skirt! Thank you, Bearhead Sisters. Without the strength of anti-Zionist Jewish folk & the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island who have been vocal against the genocide in Gaza, I might never have found the guts to speak out.”
Turns out a keffiyeh goes well with a ribbon skirt! Thank you, Bearhead Sisters. Without the strength of anti-Zionist Jewish folk & the Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island who have been vocal against the genocide in Gaza, I might never have found the guts to speak out. 🙏 https://t.co/9fdSAPzFMi
— Sadie Berlin (@ArtySadie) November 14, 2023
Western University PhD candidate Sara Khorshid, who is studying colonialism, was left in awe of the courage shown by the Indigenous musical group in speaking out for the cause of Palestine.
“The Bearhead Sisters from Paul First Nation are holding a Palestinian Keffiyyah while singing O Canada in Stoney Nakoda language. These queens are Indigenous so they know colonialism when they see it <3 As my daughters would tell them, slay queens, slay!” Khorshid posted on X.
The gesture by Bearhead Sisters follows Oilers' show of support for Israel
The strong display of power by the Bearhead Sisters, who hail from Alberta and also competed in the third season of Canada’s Got Talent, comes a few weeks after Edmonton Oilers forward Zach Hyman pledged support to the Jewish community against anti-Semitism.
Hyman’s stance appears to fall in line with the Edmonton-based club who showed support for Israel following the events of Oct. 7.
Our hearts & thoughts are with all the families whose children or loved ones have been killed or injured. We all hope & pray for peace. pic.twitter.com/EEUGNe6e3c
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) October 15, 2023
Edmonton Mayor Amarjeet Sohicame recently came under fire for his comments criticizing both “Hamas’ terrorist attack” and “Israel’s counter offence,” resulting in Edmonton’s Jewish community labelling his remarks as a “sucker punch” and demanding an apology.
Holding a keffiyeh a couple of weeks after the team and one of its players made pro-Israel statements is tremendous Fuck You energy and I hope Katz is seething. ❤️ https://t.co/tEeUOzAgw9
— (｡ゝω・｡)ゞ carina! (@ultimaaa) November 14, 2023
A proud show of support for Palestinians here, which I'm sure these women know will lead to racist and hateful campaigns against them. https://t.co/RaetMBeUoQ
— Alheli Picazo (@a_picazo) November 14, 2023
The reaction to the ongoing war in Gaza in Edmonton is only a reflection of the Canadian sentiment on a national level.
Canadians remain divided over the issue, but two-thirds of the country are calling for a ceasefire, urging the Trudeau government to act definitively instead of pushing for “humanitarian pauses," according to a recent Angus-Reid survey. The move by the Bearhead Sisters only helps put pressure on the federal government as the calls for immediate action grow even louder.