If you’ve ever seen the movie ‘Whip It’ you know exactly what kind of game women’s roller derby is.
The fast paced and full contact sport has in turn broken ground with indigenous women, as 22 of them from across Turtle Island came together to represent their individual nations, tribes and Indigenous people as a whole as Team Indigenous at the Roller Derby World Cup held in the United Kingdom from February 1 – 4.
The team hoped to use their platform to highlight issues such as that of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women while competing with over 35 other teams.
One of the teams organizers of the Diné, Omaha and Pawnee Nations Mick Wagoner, nicknamed “Mick Swagger,” explained that in coming together the team wanted to showcase the traditional way of coming together for ceremony without borders as well as sharing culture, which co-aligns with their mission statement as a team. They also made a broad statement as other teams played national anthems.
“There’s very specific things through the week where they play national anthems and we aren’t going to be playing a national anthem, obviously. We want to read a statement out about murdered and missing Indigenous women and have an honour song for them,” said Wagoner to CBC News.
Each of the players represented their nations and tribes by taking their own flags and wearing their regalia to the opening ceremonies as well. This was done to show their diversity and the concept that the team broke geographical barriers to participate in the tournament.