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Manitoba high school football player designs jersey to honour Truth and Reconciliation Day

A Manitoba high school football player has designed a new jersey that honours the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The jerseys honour several Indigenous cultures and will be worn by players at an upcoming game.

Dawson Andrews, a player for the Oak Park Raiders, said the concept for the jerseys grew from his initial idea, which was to put stickers on the team’s helmets in commemoration of Truth and Reconciliation Day.

“We usually do a Reconciliation Game every year at Oak Park, but then the idea kind of went [from stickers] into jerseys,” he said in an interview with CTV Morning Live on Thursday.

Andrews said he wanted the design to encompass several Indigenous cultures, and display a variety of imagery.

The jersey includes the word ‘raiders’ written in Cree, a star blanket design, as well as hand prints featuring the words, ‘Every Child Matters.’ Andrews noted the use of orange in the design is representative of Orange Shirt Day.

“We wanted to include orange as much as possible, but we also wanted to include our [team] colours, so we added a dark blue,” he explained.

Oak Park Raiders coach Chris Ollson said he’s happy to see the jerseys are getting people talking about truth and reconciliation.

“It’s getting people aware of the teachings and all the different designs on the uniform,” he said. “It’s a really, really exciting thing.”

These jerseys are especially meaningful for students at the school, as Oak Park High School has the highest percentage of individuals who identify as Indigenous out of the four major high schools in the Pembina Trails School Division.

“We wanted there to be some positive news representing Indigenous youth in a great way,” Ollson said.

“This is a great example. I’m just fortunate to have people like Dawson within our football program.”

The Oak Park Raiders will be wearing the jerseys at Friday’s game against the Vincent Massey Trojans.

The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is on Saturday.

- With files from CTV’s Rachel Lagace. Top Stories

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