Ontario is supporting the next generation of Indigenous leaders with new sport and recreation opportunities for Indigenous youth across the province.
Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Eleanor McMahon was at the 2017 National Aboriginal Physical Activity and Wellness Conference in Guelph on May 11 to announce the province’s support for a number of programs to enhance Indigenous youth’s physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, including:
- New funding for 12 leadership-in-training camps and more than 40 community camps, to prepare Indigenous youth across Ontario to be leaders in their communities by developing traditional knowledge, improving language skills and fostering leadership skills.
- New support to help urban, rural and remote Indigenous youth get involved in competitive sports, through the Sport Pathway for Ontario Native Wellness program. This funding is expected to help a number of youth participate in the 2017 North American Indigenous Games.
- Continued support for a dedicated “activator” in 27 First Nations communities, through the Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator program. Each “activator” will create a recreation plan with physical activity programming to meet the needs in their local community, with activities that could include everything from Elder walks to canoeing to baseball.
“As we work towards reconciliation, we are partnering with Indigenous communities to build resiliency in Indigenous youth through culturally relevant sport and recreation activities. By creating opportunities to connect with their culture, traditions and way of life, we aim to support Indigenous youth in gaining a positive sense of identity and ensure that their journey to adulthood is a successful one,” said McMahon.
By working with Indigenous communities and organizations to provide culturally appropriate experiences to revitalize cultural knowledge, Indigenous youth will build a stronger sense of self, acquire skills to set them up for success and be able to move forward on a path towards healing and reconciliation.
Supporting Indigenous youth is one of the many steps on Ontario’s journey of reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. As part of The Journey Together: Ontario’s Commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, this initiative reflects the government’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.
Since 2006, approximately $7.8 million has been invested in First Nation communities through the Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator Program.
“I am proud that our government is supporting an initiative rooted in language and culture to empower Indigenous youth through leadership training. The culture camps will provide young people with a solid foundation to be well-rounded, contributing members of their community. The empowerment of youth and preservation and revitalization of Indigenous languages, culture and traditional knowledge is part of our collective journey of reconciliation,” said David Zimmer Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
The Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario will receive $3.9 million over three years for the Sport Pathway for Ontario Native Wellness program.
The Ontario government is investing $3.5 million over three years to support the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario in hosting the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in the GTHA – the first time these Games are coming to Ontario.