Toronto Star

The Blue Jays have worn more than 40 different uniforms since their inaugural season in 1977.

Now, two artists — from Toronto and from the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte — have created a Jays jersey no one in the baseball world has ever seen before.

Toronto’s Casey Bannerman, and Kory Parkin, who lives on Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, have collaborated on an Indigenous-inspired Jays jersey that they feel captures a love of the team and support of the Indigenous community — including the continuing struggle with clean water on reserves all over Canada.

“I grew up an avid Blue Jays fan, and in 2016, I wanted to find a way to show my Indigenous culture, but also show my support for my team,” Parkin said, with the jersey being launched Thursday at

That support is centred on the jersey, which features a Jays logo combined with Haida-style art. Original Mohawk words have been used, including “Tkarón:to” (Toronto), which translates into “where there are trees standing in the water.”

Other words include blue jay – Teri:Teri, and Konorónhkwa (I love you), which carries a further meaning, centred on “the blood that flows belongs to you” — and an “interconnected, deep love, caring and compassion towards another person, animal, plant life or spirit.”

“There’s not a straight translation, but it describes emotion and feelings … the word itself (Konorónhkwa), is more about supporting who you are as a person, and giving respect back to your people, and the land and the plant life. We are trying to spread as much love as we can through this design,” Parkin said.

Blue Jays fans are reminded, prior to each game, that the Rogers Centre stands on the traditional territory of many Indigenous nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee, and the Wendat peoples. Those lands are now home to many diverse First Nations, Inuit, and Métis people.

Parkin, 38, and Bannerman, 34, are drawing attention and support to the key issue of water purity on reserves, and will be working with Water First and Dreamcatcher Foundation to direct money raised through the sale of the jerseys towards the continued efforts to bring clean water to reserves.

“Growing up on (Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory), I believe it was just recently that the boil water order was lifted,” Parkin said.

“It had been in place for 14 years. We could always get drinking water, but it wasn’t always easy. I’d been in other reserves where it was not as easy, especially the norther reserves. In 2022, it’s still a huge issue for Indigenous peoples.”

The Jays have worn at least 44 different uniforms over their history, and have featured numerous variations on their logo. The club has never featured a tie to Indigenous people in their game attire.

Photos and information about the jersey design were popular on Twitter Thursday, with many fans suggestion the Jays use it as a special occasion jersey.

Calls to the team were not immediately returned Thursday.

Parkin said he’s grateful and pleased with the way the jersey turned out. He had been tinkering with the idea since about 2016, shortly after his wife, Marina, “inspired me to get back into my creative side.”

“I got my love of the Blue Jays from my mom,” Parkin said of his mother, Janet Brant Parkin. His father, Ronald, is an important figure on their reserve, and organizes food drives and breakfast clubs.

“I wanted to make an Indigenous logo that all Indigenous communities can feel supported by it, but also, everyone too,” Parkin added.

Bannerman — who has worked on apparel brands for athletes such as Fred VanVleet, DeMar DeRozan, Pascal Siakam, and others — connected with Parkin through a client-friend, who noticed Parkin’s works, and thought “it would be cool if we collaborated this jersey design.”

“So I called (Parkin), and said, if you want to make this jersey, I’m here, I’ll be the Robin to your Batman,” Parkin said.

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