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'Home on native land:' A new push to change O Canada's lyrics

Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie hopes the city will support calling on the federal government to change the lyrics of “O Canada.”

In February, Canadian R&B singer Jully Black performed the national anthem at an NBA All-Star Game in Salt Lake City, Utah. During the performance, she swapped out one word for another – altering the lyrics from “our home and native land” to “our home on native land.”

The new lyric drew a largely positive reaction on social media, as well as some criticism. Black was later honoured at an AFN Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa for the decision.

“I was personally moved by Jully Black's rendition,” Crombie told CTV News on Tuesday. “I think this is a small effort to address our country's very dark history.”

At Wednesday’s city council meeting, Mississauga representatives will vote on whether they support a permanent lyric change based on the performance, which Crombie—who proposed the motion—described “as an Act of Reconciliation and a speaking of the truth.”

The single word change “had a ripple effect across the country,” the motion reads, and was “hailed by Indigenous Peoples across Canada.”

“I'm hopeful that this sparks a conversation as we enter national Indigenous month about the meaningful actions that we can take as a city, as a province, as a country, to advance reconciliation with our First Nations, with our Indigenous communities,” Crombie said. 

If passed, the city will write a letter to the federal government to formally adopt the lyric change “to reflect the spirit and intent of the Treaties which allowed for the creation of the City of Mississauga and all of Canada.”

The letter will also be shared with Ontario Big City Mayors.

In 2018, the federal government changed the lyrics to “O Canada” so that it was gender neutral.

Instead of “in all thy sons command,” the English version of the anthem now reads “in all of us command.”

With files from CTV News’ Adrian Ghobrial Top Stories

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