What started as an idea to showcase Indigenous culture quickly turned into so much more for professional curler Colin Hodgson.
He also owns Indigenous-owned Dynasty Curling, the company in charge of designing Team Canada’s Olympic uniforms.
“We were thinking back in January, what did we want to represent for the Canadian uniforms at the Olympics, and how did we want Canada to be perceived by the rest of the world?” Hodgson said.
So when it came to how the jerseys should look, Hodgson — who was born and raised in Lacombe, Alta. — drew inspiration from his Métis heritage.
“Canada has a beautiful Indigenous community and we haven’t had as much representation as I believe it should be,” Hodgson said.
When running the idea by Curling Canada, the response was positive.
“We want to showcase that we pride ourselves and we have the values of Canada, and one of those big ones is inclusivity,” said Nolan Thiessen, Curling Canada’s executive director of marketing and fan experience.
After getting the green light, Hodgson commissioned an Indigenous artist to design the uniforms.
In addition to the maple leaf, the red and white and black jerseys feature symbolic trees, eagle feathers and braided sweetgrass.
Thiessen said in the spirit of truth and reconciliation, it was an easy decision to support the initiative.
“With this year not only being all the world championshipsm but also the Olympic and Paralympic Games, we wanted to do something special,” Thiessen said.
“This is a small step forward for truth and reconciliation,” Hodgson said. “There needs to be many more ceremonies….. what we need is to work together.
“It takes everybody collectively to achieve what I believe we need in society.”
Hodgson is competing in the Olympic qualifying trials in Saskatoon with Team Mike McEwen. He said as much as he would like to win a gold medal, he mainly hopes to represent Indigenous culture to the world.
“I think the more conversations that we can have and the more respect, the more we’re going to start coming together, and to me, that is what it means to be Canadian,” he said.