Read about what's going on in sport and recreation in Aboriginal communities. We are always on the lookout for unique programs, news, resources and updates. If you have any news you would like us to include here, submit your info on the right.

Girls tackling taboos by playing box lacrosse at North American Indigenous Games

Mackenzie and Taylor Deleary will be breaking barriers at the NAIG — the first time in the Games 25-year history that women's box lacrosse teams will be allowed to participate. Traditionally, in Haudenosaunee (also known as Iroquois) communities, women have been enthusiastic supporters of lacrosse, but playing it was taboo.

"Lacrosse is known as a medicine game and it was made for the men in that respect," says Mekwan Tulpin, a Cree from Fort Albany First Nation who plays for Canada's national field lacrosse team and is helping coach Team Ontario. The participation of Indigenous women in lacrosse has been gaining momentum since the 1980s, but Tulpin believes this year's NAIG may act as an important turning point. He says they've had better attendance for the women's tryouts and practices than the men's.

Duncan McCue, CBC News

Nominate an Amazing Recreation Leader For an NWTRPA Award: Deadline July 31

Each year the NWTRPA presents awards to celebrate and recognize dedicated recreation professionals and volunteers in northern communities for their continuing efforts and achievements in promoting recreation and active living for all northerners. Those nominees who are selected for each award will be flown to Inuvik, all expenses paid, to accept their award at the NWTRPA Awards Banquet. Nominations are open for all six awards until July 31, 2017.

Indigenous inspired playground a London first (includes short video)

Educators say a new Indigenous inspired playground at London's C.C. Carrothers Public School is the first of its kind in the Thames Valley District School Board. Each piece of the playground is symbolic of Indigenous culture and is aimed at making students who self-identify as Indigenous feel more welcome in the school community. The school includes students from 27 different cultures, where one in four students self-identifies as Indigenous.

"Welcoming families into our building, all families into our building, it's got to be at the core of what we do," Beth Zimmerman, the principal of C.C. Carrothers Public School told CBC News. 

Colin Butler, CBC News

Self-discovery part of the curriculum in Yukon land-based college program

A Yukon College program helps eight First Nation students develop leadership skills on the land in a four-week program that includes hunting and fishing with the students travelling by water from Minto Landing to Fort Selkirk on a raft they've built. The goal of the program is to give each student the skills and experience to become leaders, according to John Reid, department head for Yukon College's northern region.

He said it makes sense to base the program on the land instead of in a conventional classroom. "Traditionally First Nation people lived on the land, they existed on the land, they lived on the land, so how do we take that concept and mold it within our institution."

CBC News

Canadian nonprofit Parkbus launches express bus service from downtown Vancouver to B.C. provincial parks

Métis women bring traditional gardening to the heart of downtown Toronto

A group of Métis women in Toronto, Métis Women's Talking Circle, are connecting with their heritage by planting a garden full of traditional herbs and medicines. The women plan to plant one bed of medicines like sage, sweetgrass and tobacco, and another full of vegetables. 

The talking circle's elder, Constance Simmonds, said that part of the garden's importance is increasing the visibility of Métis people in Toronto. Simmonds is a senator with the Métis Nation of Ontario's Toronto and York Region Métis Council, and shares teachings with the talking circle every month.

CBC News

School on a river: N.W.T.'s 'bush university' offers credits for paddling down Peel River

The Yellowknife based Dechinta Centre for Research and Learning — the N.W.T.'s 'bush university' — is partnering with the Youth of the Peel Society, in a pilot program that will offer university credits for the University of British Columbia. On-the-land education for successful applicants will include study of the Peel watershed, and indigenous history and culture — all the while paddling down the Wind and Peel rivers. It will be roughly three weeks on water, and some time on the land training and learning.

Priscilla Hwang, CBC News

New program in Nanaimo hopes to simplify how to live healthy

A new healthy living strategy, 5-2-1-0, stands for five fruits or vegetables, two hours or less of recreational use in front of a screen, one hour of activity and zero sugary drinks a day. It's being run by the City of Nanaimo, the Regional District of Nanaimo and Island Health.

“It's really about simplifying the message and all speaking the same language so everyone understands things they can do in their own life that will help them with their health and wellness,” said recreation coordinator Tara Fedosoff.  

Spencer Sterritt, Nanaimo News NOW

NWT youth head ‘back to the trail’ - short video

For one week, 60 youth from across the Northwest Territories are able to get together face to face as friends at Back to the Trail camp. The camp includes workshops, games, and activities and encourages youth to discuss the many challenges they face and how to overcome obstacles. The camp was funded by Health Canada and hosted by the territorial government and various indigenous wellness committees.

New program for Indigenous youth to talk mental health, identity

Organizers at Halifax's Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre hope to create safe space for Indigenous youth in Halifax at risk with a new program for an age group that's often missed. The Mi'kmaw Native Friendship Centre regularly offers programs for kids and young adults, but until now there was little for youth in "the in-between ages," said organizer Jenna Chisholm.

She's running a seven-week workshop called "Who Am I?" that will cover everything from setting up participants' first debit cards to knowing where to turn in a mental health crisis. 

Emma Smith, CBC News

Parks Canada kicks off 2017 Visitor Season - Connect with nature and history, celebrate Canada 150

On May 20th, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, celebrated the opening of Parks Canada's 2017 visitor season and launch of Parks Canada's NEW smartphone app at Rouge National Urban Park, Canada's first nationally protected area in an urban setting.

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Government of Canada's gift to Canadians is free admission to all Parks Canada places in 2017.  

Parks Canada is encouraging visitors to plan their trips and discover new and exciting destinations in 2017 by consulting Parks Canada's website for a list of hidden gems and other unique and memorable experiences. The new Parks Canada mobile app provides visitors with tips and information to plan their visit and share their experiences on social media using fun and interactive Parks Canada-themed filters and stickers, as well as find out about hundreds of events planned for 2017 all across the country.

CNN News Release

Call for Presenters: Gathering Strength: Framework for Recreation in Canada Forum 2018 - Deadline July 14, 2017

You are invited to Regina in May, 2018 for Gathering Strength/Rassembler nos forces: Framework for Recreation in CanadaAppel à présentateurs Forum 2018. This national event is focused on building relationships, continuing dialog and working in cooperation towards achieving the values, goals and priorities identified in the Framework for Recreation in Canada: Pathways to Wellbeing.

The Forum Committee currently accepting applications for concurrent session presenters. The Committee is seeking thought provoking and engaging presenters and facilitators who can share knowledge from local, provincial and national levels and offer topics that are well aligned with the Framework for Recreation in Canada.

Applications are due end of day Friday, July 14, 2017. Additional information, and the links to apply, are included in the attached Call for Presenters/Appel à présentateurs.

Annonce de la Semaine nationale de l’accessibilité / Announcement of National AccessAbility Week

The Honourable Carla Qualtrough, Canada’s Minister responsible for Persons with Disabilities, has announced the launching this spring, for the first time in many years, of an annual national week devoted to inclusion and accessibility.

From May 28 to June 3, 2017, National AccessAbility Week will celebrate, highlight and promote inclusion and accessibility in our communities and workplaces across the country.

Follow: @AccessibleGC on Twitter and Accessible Canada on Facebook for more information surrounding National AccessAbility Week.


L’honorable Carla Qualtrough, ministre des Sports et des Personnes handicapées, a annoncé le lancement, ce printemps et pour la première fois depuis des années, une semaine nationale consacrée à l’inclusion et à l’accessibilité.

Du 28 mai au 3 juin 2017, la Semaine nationale de l’accessibilité sera l’occasion de célébrer, de souligner et de promouvoir l’inclusion et l’accessibilité dans nos collectivités et nos milieux de travail, partout au pays.

Suivre les pages Twitter (@GCAccessible) et Facebook (Canada Accessible) avec les mots-clic #CanadaAccessible et #Accessibilité pour connaître les dernières nouvelles.

Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association Celebration Initiative Grant: Deadline June 15

To help you celebrate the return of summer programming, the June is Recreation & Parks Month Celebration Initiative Grant has returned for another year. The Grant is available on a first come, first served basis. Don't delay, apply for your Celebration Initiative Grant today! 

All funds must be used by June 30, 2017. All follow-up material must be submitted by Friday, August 11, 2017

2017 Health Promoton Ontario Conference: Call for Abstracts - Deadline May 31

Each year, Health Promotion Ontario (HPO) provides a forum for students, practitioners and researchers to come together and discuss issues and ideas in and around the field of health promotion. This year’s conference will be in celebration of the 30th Anniversary of Health Promotion Ontario. Conference date is Nov 23, 2017.

Come share your experiences, research, initiatives and ideas. This year’s conference theme invites presentations and workshops that:

  • Apply our Pan-Canadian Health Promoter Competencies* into action
  • Identify challenges, lessons learned and potential solutions for applying Pan-Canadian Health Promoter Competencies effectively
  • Provide opportunities for attendees to participate, build skills and network

Grants for Building Social Connectedness in Communities (BC): Deadline May 30

The Healthy Communities Capacity Building fund (HCCBF) supports partnership development and innovative collaborative action between local governments, health authorities, and other community partners. Two streams of funding are available to local governments who are working in partnership with other sectors to improve social connectedness in communities or regions; Stream One: Cultivating Connections and Stream Two: Resilient Streets Demonstration Communities.

Athletics, reconciliation to come together at Indigenous Games

Reconciliation will be a central theme when Indigenous athletes from across North America gather in Toronto this summer.

More than 5,000 athletes will compete July 16-23 at the North American Indigenous Games, where the theme will be Team 88, which references the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 88th call to action directing Canada to support Indigenous sports. To mark the call to action, the City of Toronto declared April 19 — 88 days before the Games kick off — Team 88 Day, with celebrations at Nathan Phillips Square at city hall downtown.

CBC News

Collaborative to Support 35 On The Land Projects in 2017

This year, the NWT On The Land Collaborative will distribute $634,845 to 35 projects across the territory that connect NWT residents with their land, culture, and community. On the land programs promote community, family, and individual wellbeing, and are vital to healthy ecosystems and economies. 

Funded projects range from support for a canoe trip for grade nine students, for healing and wellness camps for youth in Rádeyįlįkóé (Fort Good Hope), Trails on the Land, a 10-day trip beginning in Tuktoyaktuk that will take youth and elders through the traditional hunting territory of their ancestors; a land-based youth mentorship project coordinated by the Deh Gah Gotine First Nation; a boating program for Tłįchǫ youth that teaches traditional knowledge and skills; and a hide tanning camp in Łutsel K’e. In addition to financial support, funded projects may also receive equipment, training, and program support.

Media Release

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