Knowledge Resources & Publications


Webinar: Taking Stock of the Calls to Action on Sport and Reconciliation for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples

December 2021


The National Collaborating Centre for Indigenous Health (NCCIH) is undertaking a two-year Champion of Partnerships project as part of the Government of Canada’s Common Vision for Increasing Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Living in Canada: Let’s Get Moving. The role of the NCCIH in this initiative is to help promote physical activity, recreation, and sport opportunities for First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, families and communities across Canada. This webinar is part of this overall initiative.

In December 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released their final report and 96 Calls to Action, including those related to sport and reconciliation (Calls to Action 87-90). The presenters in this webinar, Dr. Janice Forsyth, Ms. Caralynn Nault, and Ms. Kukik Baker will explore the importance of putting into motion these Calls to Action, recognizing the important role that physical activity, sports, and practices, in their many forms, play in the mental, emotional and cultural well-being of First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth, families and communities.


Janice Forsyth is an Associate Professor in Sociology and Director of Indigenous Studies at Western University in London, Ontario, Canada. Her research, which combines history and sociology to explore the relationship between sport and culture from Indigenous points of view, has earned significant national and international attention over the past ten years. In addition to her 2013 co-edited collection, Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada: Historical Foundations and Contemporary Issues, a standard text in many classrooms throughout Canada, her award-winning monograph, Reclaiming Tom Longboat: Indigenous Self-Determination in Canadian Sport, published in 2020, continues to generate positive attention in scholarly and literary circles internationally. This attention has translated into other forms of recognition. In 2012, she was named a recipient of the Premier's Research Excellence Award for Ontario. The Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, published in 2015, cited several of her publications, demonstrating how her research is relevant well beyond sport.

In 2019, she was elected to the College of the Royal Society of Canada for her research and advocacy work on sport and reconciliation. Dr. Forsyth is also an experienced leader in the Canadian nonprofit sector, where she is currently Vice-President for the Aboriginal Sport Circle, a national not-for-profit that provides advocacy and support for Indigenous-led sport development in Canada, and a director for the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, which reaches nearly 2.1 million youth through 72 school boards and 4,934 schools across Ontario annually. She is a member of the Fisher River Cree First Nation.

Caralynn Nault works for Waterways Manitoba, which is an Indigenous led non-profit that works to support community wellness by using canoeing and outdoor recreation to connect Indigenous youth to cultural skills and identities. Caralynn is a Program Leader for the Intercommunity Canoe Program (ICCP).

Caralynn is a Métis woman, living on Treaty 1 territory, the homeland of her people. She has a particular calling to create spaces for Indigenous women and Two-Spirit people to feel safe and celebrated in sport and recreation. Through her work and her personal life, she has experienced the joy, empowerment, and healing that movement and connection to the land and water brings to people (of all ages) and loves to share it with others whenever given the chance. Ms. Nault has also done work with creating and speaking at the annual “TRC and Sport” event hosted by the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council, which was designed to educate the Provincial Sport Organizations of Manitoba on the importance of implementing the Calls to Action.

Kukik Baker has lived in Arviat her entire life. She worked as a community mental health youth outreach worker for many years while she developed key programs for Aqqiumavvik, where she has worked for 20 years and is currently the Executive Director. She is the founder of the Ujjiqsuiniq Young Hunters Program and has been very active in establishing a formal curriculum for that program, which includes environmental monitoring and training in technologies to support those goals. Although much of Kukik's work experience was as a mental health specialist, she is also a very experienced lands person and harvester. She continues to work closely on youth engagement. She initiated several of Aqqiumavvik’s food security and climate change projects and has been very actively promoting food security issues, especially through cooking with country foods. Kukik is responsible for the development of several of Aqqiumavvik’s recipe initiatives. For this project, she brings the unique perspective of actively investigating wildlife and environmental health in a local context, promoting respectful and sustainable harvesting and then using harvest to address food security across the community.

Kukik has been involved in all of Aqqiumavvik's various research initiatives, working with southern research partners, designing and providing training workshops in Inuit Qaujimajatuqangit research approaches, including the design of respectful research questions and methodologies, the management/analysis of data, and, ultimately, the reporting of outcomes in meaningful ways back to the community. In 2019, on behalf of the Ujjiqsuiniq Young Hunters Program, she received the ITK Advancement of Youth Award.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what safe spaces and practices for physical activity, sport and recreation encompass for Indigenous Peoples generally, and for youth, women and Two-Spirit people specifically;
  • Explore community-driven, culturally-grounded, and distinctions-based opportunities for on-the-land physical activities for First Nations, Inuit and Métis people and the benefits these provide for mental health and healing; and
  • Discuss what has been done on the TRC’s Calls to Actions around sport and reconciliation and needs to be done moving forward on these.

Suggested Reading

Sutherland, J. (2021). Indigenous sports and recreation programs and partnerships across Canada: A literature review and environmental scan. Prince George, BC: National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health.

Federal, provincial and territorial governments. (2018). Common Vision for Increasing Physical Activity and Reducing Sedentary Living in Canada: Let’s Get Moving. Ottawa, ON: Author.

National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health. (2013). Physical Activity Fact Sheet. Prince George, BC:Author.

Webinar Resources