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Canada honors Indigenous Peoples with orange bands, minute of silence
VICTORIA (Canada) - Even though it was mostly empty, an audible buzz emanated from the Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre court prior to tip-off.
Then there was the minute of silence, only a light hum-and-zizz could be heard from the stadium lights.
The teams from Canada and Greece joined the officials, event staff and media on hand in silence to honor and remember the hundreds of Indigenous children whose unmarked graves were recently discovered in Canada.
The remains were discovered at sites of former residential schools - mandatory, government-created and church-run boarding schools for Indigenous Peoples that aimed to strip Canada's First Nations of their own culture to better indoctrinate them into predominantly white, Euro-Canadian society.
The growing total of unmarked, buried remains is up to 966 people - mostly children. The discoveries serve as evidence that children may have died at the schools.
In addition to the minute of silence, Canada’s players wore an orange band on their jerseys. The color has become synonymous with remembering residential school survivors, their families and those who didn’t make it.
With the recent discovery of children’s remains at several former residential schools, we stand with Indigenous Peoples from coast-to-coast-to-coast during this difficult time. pic.twitter.com/y8LxbrssBs— Canada Basketball (@CanBball) June 29, 2021
“We just wanted to, as an organization and as a team and as a country, do a small, small thing and pay respect to that,” Canada coach Nick Nurse said after his team defeated Greece 97-91 in the opening game of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament.
"Our thoughts are with the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, the Cowessess First Nation, and Indigenous peoples across Canada,” Friends of Victoria Basketball said in a statement. “The horrifying discoveries at the former Residential Schools in British Columbia and Saskatchewan are another stark reminder of how essential truth and reconciliation is for all of us as Canadians.”
Canada’s next game is Wednesday, June 30 against China.