New Team Canada hockey jersey too Native

By ROB GRANATSTEIN


The logo that will adorn the Canadian hockey team's jersey features a number of Native symbols inside a red maple leaf.


The brandspanking-new Team Canada hockey jersey is the latest reason why we need to give the Canada cliche a rest.

It's time we stopped portraying Canada with such a heavy emphasis on our Native roots.

Our home and Native land has been shaped by the aboriginals who were here on this land first, but they no longer define the country.

It's hard to argue the influence of the Native people on the West Coast, especially in Vancouver. A trip to Stanley Park drives it home.

But when we think of Vancouver and, by extension, look forward to the Winter Olympics, do you really think Inukshuk?

Vancouver is a thriving, diverse, cosmopolitan playground where you can ski and swim on the same day, explore the mountains, and eat like you're in China.

Yet the Olympic organizers chose an Inukshuk as the logo for the 2010 Games -- a northern symbol more than a west coast one. That's our face to the world.

Then Team Canada, forced to give up the Hockey Canada logo on the front of the sweater due to International Olympic Committee rules banning sports federation crests, showed up with its redesigned Canadian shirt yesterday.

The new crest, created by Native artist Debra Sparrow, from the Musqueam First Nation, with help from the good people at Nike, includes smaller Maple Leafs depicting the number of gold medals won by Canadian men's, women's and sledge hockey teams; the thunderbird and eagle, two First Nations symbols; a hockey player and stick; a fleur-de-lis, beaver, fish, moose, and a whole lot more.

Sparrow said the intention of her design was to show viewers of the Games that Canadian athletes are connected to a strong heritage.

There are some interesting elements, and it's far from being offensive, but is this really the right choice to put on the chests of our multimillion-dollar athletes playing Canada's game?

We've missed the mark, but we lit the lamp on political correctness. Hooray for us.

And it's all yours for $135 for the replica, or just $400 for the authentic shirt.

Go Canada.

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