Hopes high for research project to improve Indigenous sports in Canada

CANADA — A new Indigenous sports research project was launched at the start of September that will look to influence Sport Canada decisions.

Earlier this summer, an Indigenous-owned company, called Archipel Research and Consulting Incorporated, won a bid to conduct the project. The company will call it “Indigenous Peoples in Sport: Research and Data Plan”.

Some objectives of the project include to lay out how many Indigenous athletes participate in sports, and to gain insight into how to identify the needs of Indigenous athletes that compete in sports throughout the country.

Under the guidance of Sabre Pictou Lee, the CEO of Archipel Research and Consulting, the project hopes to define what sport means to Indigenous people in Canada.

The company’s research is a continuation of work conducted by Indigenous researchers and leaders in the country that are keen to change the sports realm in Canada. The initial report, titled the Aboriginal Sport Circle: Indigenous Research Initiative, is not currently available to the public.

The company’s research acquisition will include hosting four, two-hour, virtual sharing circles this month, with a total of 40 participants.

The first sharing circle, which was held held on September 6, included Canadian-based officials from Indigenous sports organizations. The next session held on September 8, featured Canadian representatives from non-Indigenous sports groups throughout the country. The September 13 sharing circle saw Indigenous researchers take part, with the final circle scheduled for September 15, set to include Indigenous athletes, coaches and officials.

Once all available data has been compiled, a report will then be written, with recommendations that will be passed on to Sport Canada.

The research component for the project will be led by an Indigenous advisory group (IAG), which includes Elders, knowledge keepers, and others. So far, the IAG consists of nine individuals, including Dr. Janice Forsyth, the current vice-president of the Aboriginal Sport Circle. Other IAG members include Brigette Lacquette and Waneek Horn-Miller.

Desiree Isaac-Pictou, a wheelchair basketball athlete and a business administration student at the University of New Brunswick, is also a member of the IAG. The remaining members of the advisory group include Amanda Larocque, Wally Samuel, Dr. Margaret Kovach, Shane Keepness and Dr. Lynn Lavallee.

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