Bear, who is from the Ochapowace Nation in southern Saskatchewan, will honor his Indigenous heritage by displaying his Cree syllabic jersey name bar.
“It will be an honor to wear this jersey tonight,” said the 23-year-old. “I feel like I’m wearing it for all of those Native players who came before me and those Native kids who dream of playing in the NHL.
#Oilers d-man Ethan Bear will honor his Indigenous heritage at tonight’s #BattleOfAlberta exhibition game by displaying his Cree syllabic jersey name bar.
| #LetsGoOilers https://t.co/7LAtHX6jOK
– Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) 28 juillet 2020
Bear impressed in his rookie season with the Oilers, appearing in 71 games while recording 21 points and averaging 21 minutes of ice time. He will now have the chance to help the team compete for the Stanley Cup and he will do so while representing his community on the international stage.
“As the International Chief of Treaties 6, 7 and 8 and a member of the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame, I cannot express my gratitude enough to the Edmonton Oilers and the National Hockey League for this most important act of reconciliation. positive, ”Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild said, according to NHL.com.
“The Oilers continue to lead the way with the power of sport to build good relationships between our people, tribes and nations. Coming from Maskwacis (Bear Hills), in our culture we have a naming ceremony that we rely on for our identity and positive self-esteem. It took us many years at the United Nations to gain the right to use our Cree syllabic writing system and to use our language for our own names of communities, places and people.
“The Spirit Cree name for Maskwa is also one of our sacred teachings on courage and that is what the bear stands for. Ethan brings great pride to all of us with his strength and natural ability to overcome challenges. This is important and people around the world will remember when they see the syllables on Ethan’s jersey to be courageous, to be confident and to be courageous.