Kiya Bruno, a 14-year-old Samson Cree Nation activist, singer and actress, performed the national anthem in both Cree and English at the Edmonton Oilers game Feb. 8 during the 20th annual Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada.
The celebrations for the anniversary event were held in Yellowknife, N.W.T., and began on Feb. 5, culminating in a 12.5 hour- broadcast on Feb. 8, featuring all seven Canadian NHL teams.
“She thinks its a great honour that she gets to represent her Indigenous people in a positive way and share a piece of her culture and Cree language with the world,” said Dumigan Jackson before the event.
“She’s also nervous because it’s a little scary singing live in front of an audience of thousands of people or more. It’s also a once-in-a-lifetime experience to be able to share her rendition of the Canadian national anthem.”
Dumigan Jackson believes this was the first time the national anthem was sung in English and Cree at an Edmonton Oilers game.
Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada is about more than just hockey — it’s about coming together as a community, teaching kids values and supporting every goal, on and off the ice, according to a media advisory.
“It’s a great privilege that she gets to to sing a bilingual version that includes her Cree language,” said Dumigan Jackson, adding Bruno says her late papa Tony Dumigan would be proud because the Oilers was always his favourite team.
“She wants to encourage, motivate and inspire other Indigenous youth to learn and share their language with the world.”
The Edmonton Oilers contacted the Toronto Blue Jays trying to get a hold of Bruno’s mother Barbara Dumigan Jackson, as they’d seen Bruno sing the anthem at the Blue Jays game at Rogers Centre on June 29, 2019, and wanted her to sing for Hockey Day in Canada.
Bruno is a young woman with many pursuits and passions.
She has sung at many sporting, community events and conferences, award ceremonies, universities, and more over the past few years, but is also an athlete, actress and artist.
Bruno has been playing basketball for her junior high Grade 9 team at Wetaskiwin Composite High School, as well as playing hockey for the Maskwacis Hawks female midget team.
She’s been acting, modeling and performing throughout the year, facilitating workshops across Treaty 6 territory, keynote speaking at multiple conferences and events and also continues to perform the Canadian national anthem in Cree and English and just Cree at community and sporting events, according to Dumigan Jackson.
Bruno will be travelling to Bali Indonesia in March to speak at the global conference, the sixth GoGreen Summit and Awareness on Climate Change and will be a keynote speaker with her mother, talking about the importance of protecting our water and Mother Earth from an Indigenous perspective.
She will also be performing her traditional jingle dress dance at the conference which is a healing dance.
“[Kiya] wants to continue making positive changes in the world and inspire youth to chase their dreams no matter how big or small and know that they are loved and important.”