The words 'our native land' in the Canadian anthem refers to our country not Indigenous culture, writes John Chisholm. © Provided by Leader Post The words ‘our native land’ in the Canadian anthem refers to our country not Indigenous culture, writes John Chisholm.

Canadian female vocalist Jully Black’s recent and unofficial rendition of our national anthem on Feb. 19 at the NBA all-star game in Salt Lake City was an affront to many Canadians.

Our national anthem represents all Canadians of all race, creed or colour. It proudly unites us together strong and free.

Not too long ago, an official amendment was made to the anthem’s lyrics changing the wording from “in all thy sons command” to “ in all of us command.”

At the time of its original composition, Canada was a new nation where Canada’s military men (sons) were the protectorate. (It is interesting to note that the Canadian national anthem was written in 1880 and not made official until 1980.)

For 100 years, the wording hadn’t changed, officially, until about three years ago. Black’s unofficial rendition upset many Canadians and also etched a divisiveness in an already fractured nation.

Replacing the word “and” to “on” in “our home and native land” gives the word “native” a different connotation. The context of the word “native” in our national anthem is defined as a person born in a specified place or associated with a place of birth, whether subsequently a resident there or not.

Our anthem represents all of us.

What Black has disrespectfully done has totally changed the dynamics to “them” and “us.”

Such divisiveness reminds me of an incident in 1967 when Canada was celebrating its centennial by hosting the World’s Fair “Expo 67.” Visiting French President Charles De Gaulle shouted from his hotel balcony: “Viva le Quebec, viva le Quebec libre.” He was encouraging Quebecers to seek separation from Canada.

Prime Minister Lester Pearson demanded a retraction from De Gaulle and an apology to Canadians, reminding him that Canadians don’t have to be liberated. Pearson was a true prime minister, a federalist, keeping Canadians together.

Just like our national anthem, we stand on guard for thee.

John Chisholm, Swift Current



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