New digital book aims to educate Canadians about Indigenous sport heroes

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame launched the Indigenous Sport Heroes Education Experience Monday with a virtual event recognizing a unique publication effort.

The highlight, a digital book provided explores the rich history and contributions of Indigenous athletes, is now available online.

The digital book features Indigenous athletes like Paralympian Colette Bourgonje, cross-country skiers Sharon Anne and Shirley Firth, and Waneek Horn-Miller, who was part of Canada’s water polo team that won gold at the 1999 Pan Am Games.

“Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame has a very important role to play in advancing Peace and Reconciliation and one of the ways is to tell the National story about Indigenous athletes in history. I am personally so grateful for all those that have been honoured knowing that it has not been easy for any of them to accomplish what they did for family and country.
Reconciliation is about ‘having good relations’ and the more we know about each other and the more we work together, building on the strengths of each other, the more united and stronger Canada, ‘our home and native land’ will be,” wrote Chief Wilton Littlechild to the Indigenous Sport Heroes Education Experience website.

Part of the book is dedicated to athletes that have garnered a Tom Longboat Award; the awards were established in 1951 to recognize Indigenous athletes for outstanding contributions to sport in Canada. As a program of the Aboriginal Sport Circle, the Tom Longboat Awards provide a forum for acknowledging the growth and strength of the Indigenous sport movement in Canada and its tremendous impact on the sport development from community level participation to elite level competition. The Awards include a male and female category.

The book itself will have additional education resources designed for K-12 students and will be available to educators across Canada at no cost. The resource is hoped to inspire Indigenous youth to get involved in sports and create their own legacies to be honoured and appreciated.

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