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November 17, 2023
A hockey game in Edmonton this week saw the latest example of Indigenous advocates across North America expressing solidarity with and finding common ground with the Palestinian community.
Wearing shimmering blue ribbon dresses and donning brightly coloured medallions, The Bearhead Sisters cut a vivid scene as they made their way onto the ice amid an endless mass of hockey jerseys.
As their voices came together for a resounding rendition of the Canadian national anthem, sung in the Stoney Nakoda language, the TV cameras revealed that the three sisters each carried a black-and-white scarf known as kaffiyeh, a traditional Middle Eastern garment that has evolved to symbolize the Palestinian struggle for justice and freedom.
The performance took place in front of a soldout crowd at Rogers Place in Edmonton this week, part of the Oilers’ Indigenous Celebration Night. But the presence of the kaffiyehs transformed a celebration into a gesture of solidarity with a people some 10,000 kilometres away.