First published in the Lethbridge Herald Wednesday, June 10, 2020
June is National Indigenous History month – a time for Canadians – Indigenous, non-Indigenous, and newcomers – to reflect upon and learn the history, sacrifices, cultures, contributions, and strength of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people.
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified sport and recreation as tools for social development to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals and communities. The Lethbridge Sport Council and our members value sport for its impact physically, socially, emotionally, and mentally.
No other domain of community life has demonstrated sport’s capacity to connect so many young people to positive adult role models and mentors, opportunities for positive development, and help to acquire critical life skills.
Over the past year with support from an Indigenous Advisory Committee, the Lethbridge Sport Council has worked to contribute to the promotion and development of inclusive pathways to participation for sport, active Living and recreation.
In celebration of National Indigenous History Month, the Lethbridge Sport Council has published an Issuu magazine to recognize four local Indigenous people for their contributions to our sport community. Here is a sneak peak at their stories. The full stories can be found on the Lethbridge Sport Council website.
Mary Ellen Little Mustache/Nawaksaaki has a passion for making traditional games and sport equipment. She is delighted to build a new passion for traditional games with the next generation and with non-Indigenous people.
Working with Little Mustache, Lethbridge Sport Council can bring Blackfoot games and music to the Roving Gyms program. Roving Gyms are free inclusive indoor play spaces for children up to five years of age and their parents or caregiver. Together they can play with fun equipment while developing fundamental movement skills and nurturing the love of movement.
Isiah Day Chief is a young local Indigenous sports leader by way of his athletic prowess. Isiah’s mother, Wendy, exposed him to a variety of sports from a young age. He is a multi-sport athlete having played baseball, golf, basketball and track and field but his passion is hockey.
Day Chief played four years for the Coaldale Copperheads earning Most Improved in 2017-18 and Hardest Worker in 2018-19.
Day Chief said, “Being a part of sport has helped me express myself. All my best friends in life I have met through sport. It definitely helped me develop social skills and it can help you be way more comfortable with who you are.”
Darcie Vielle is a basketball coach and the Sport and Recreation Coordinator for the Blood Tribe Recreation Department. Her work with Lethbridge Sport Council comes as a Facilitator for the Aboriginal Coaching Module and a long-time participant of the North American Indigenous Games as an athlete, manager, and coach.
Vielle is currently planning a virtual fun run called Kainai-Sik-Ooh-Kotoki Fun Run. Her goal is for participants to accumulate the equivalent distance as the perimeter of the Kainai reserve and the city of Lethbridge combined.
Chad Chief Moon has been a hockey coach for over ten years and got involved with lacrosse a few years ago when his son began playing. When Chief Moon discovered lacrosse was created by Indigenous people, the Creator’s game had a deeper meaning to him. It had a purpose beyond the benefits of sport. It is a healing game and a way to give thanks to the Creator.
Chief Moon has hosted several come-try-lacrosse events over the years. He believes lacrosse should be available to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. “I am looking forward to helping our youth become good athletes and stronger people,” said Chief Moon.
To read the full stories on each of these sport leaders visit https://lethbridgesportcouncil.ca/news
The Lethbridge Herald Article
Athletes Coaching Lethbridge
Posted June 10, 2020