Jully Black, the Juno-winning R&B singer, was recently honoured by National Chief RoseAnne Archibald and AFN Knowledge Keepers with a Blanketing Ceremony and Eagle Feather for her performance of the Canadian National Anthem at the NBA All-Star game. Black, who is known for her powerful voice and soulful performances, made a bold statement during her rendition of the anthem by changing the lyrics from “our home and native land” to “our home on Native land.”
While some Canadians reacted negatively to Black’s modification of the lyrics, many others praised her for bringing attention to the ongoing struggles of Indigenous peoples in Canada. Black’s decision to change the lyrics was a nod to the fact that Canada was not an empty land waiting to be discovered by European explorers but rather was inhabited by Indigenous peoples for thousands of years before the arrival of European colonizers. By singing “our home on Native land,” Black acknowledged Indigenous peoples’ history and continued presence in Canada.
Black’s performance was a powerful statement of solidarity with Indigenous peoples and a call to action for all Canadians to recognize and address the injustices faced by Indigenous communities. Her performance was also a reminder that music could be a powerful tool for social change and a means of expressing resistance and dissent.
The Blanketing Ceremony and Eagle Feather presented to Black by National Chief RoseAnne Archibald and AFN Knowledge Keepers is a significant honour in Indigenous culture. The Blanket Ceremony is a way of showing respect and honour to individuals who have made a significant contribution to Indigenous communities or who have shown great respect and understanding of Indigenous culture. The Eagle Feather, considered sacred in many Indigenous cultures, is a symbol of strength, courage, and wisdom.
Black’s willingness to speak truth to power and use her platform to advocate for social justice is a testament to her integrity and commitment to improving the world. By honouring her with the Blanketing Ceremony and Eagle Feather, National Chief RoseAnne Archibald and AFN Knowledge Keepers have recognized Black’s contributions to Indigenous communities and her unwavering commitment to social justice.