Teen sings 'O Canada' in Cree at Toronto Blue Jays game
CTVNews.ca staff, with files from CTV News Edmonton's Jay Rosove
Published Saturday, June 29, 2019 3:09PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, June 29, 2019 5:43PM EDT
A Indigenous teenager sang “O Canada” in Cree in front of an estimated 20,000 baseball fans at the Rogers Centre Saturday afternoon.
It was the first time the national anthem has been sung in Cree at the home of the Toronto Blue Jays, who will face the Kansas City Royals.
Kiya Bruno from the Samson Cree Nation in northern Alberta sang as part of the Blue Jays' celebration of National Indigenous People's Day.
The 13 year old was selected from dozens of hopefuls.
“I was really excited when I first found out,” Kiya told CTV News Edmonton.
“I was really happy that I actually got selected. It’s a really cool opportunity.”
Bruno, who has loved singing all her life, used to rent karaoke sets and perform with her mom. She has gone on to open community events, slo-pitch tournaments and Edmonton Prospects baseball games.
“It started off small and it kind of progressed,” she said.
About a year ago, during Cree lessons with her grandmother or ‘kokum’ in Cree, the idea of singing the national anthem in their traditional language was first brought up.
As she prepared for her largest audience yet, Bruno told CTV News Edmonton that she enjoys any opportunity to share her traditional language with others.
Olivia Tookate, a 16 year old from Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario, was chosen to throw out the first pitch.
Robert Witchell, executive director of Jays Care Foundation, told CTV News Edmonton that Bruno’s guest appearance is “really special.”
“We’re excited to celebrate National Indigenous People's Day and to have Kaiya sing the national anthem in both English and in Cree,” Witchell told CTV News Edmonton.