It’s Canada Day, and what better way to celebrate, especially in light of last week’s landmark land-Supreme Court land-claim ruling in the Tsilhqot’in First Nation’s favor, than with a version of the national anthem retooled with an indigenous perspective?
“Oh Kanata: Our Home on Native Land” posted on YouTube last year, makes some subtle substitutions, beginning with the very title and first line, which in the Canadian version is, “Oh Canada! Our Home and Native Land.”
See what they did there? It’s sprinkled throughout, as with, “Let’s restore this land, return the history” instead of lyrics talking about God keeping “our land glorious and free.”
The line “return Algonquin territory” holds even more special significance given the ruling last week in which the Supreme Court of Canada acknowledged that the Tsilhqot’in held title to large tracts of land, not the Canadian government.
“The Canadian National Anthem does not truly reflect this land, [so] we created a new rendition of the song that gives acknowledgement to the fact that this country was founded on Indigenous traditional territories,” wrote the posters of the indigenous version. “In order to move forward, Canadians (whether Indigenous or Non-Indigenous) must acknowledge what has occurred in our history, and find positive ways of moving forward. As Non-Indigenous Canadians, we need to play our role as allies—and that first step begins with acknowledging what this country was originally founded upon.”
The indigenous-themed version is below, and under that the original, for comparison.