"In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada established 94 Calls to Action. Acknowledging sport as a key cultural practice, the Commission outlined five directives that could support healing and reconciliation. In 2017, the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management (FKRM) received funding to host a three-day Sport and Reconciliation Gathering. The purpose of the Gathering was to a) bring together networks, voices, and resources, along with new ways of thinking regarding what a principled approach for the path forward in reconciliation could look like; b) examine the TRC’s five Calls to Action in relation to existing sport policies and practices and; c) support local sport, recreation, and physical education bodies to consider how they could implement the Commission’s findings into their own work.
Bearing witness to the truth can be transformative; understanding the truth of the legacies of Indian Residential Schools is a burden that Survivors carried for so long and it is up to all of us to share in that burden by doing our part in promoting and being active in reconciliation. Over the three days of the Gathering, participants discussed how sport could play an important role in reconciliation as a vehicle to address divisiveness, hostility, racism, and stereotypes.
On the first day, Survivors described their experiences in Indian Residential Schools. On day two, community members, academics, and Indigenous athletes, coaches, and leaders offered insight into the diverse ways that sport, recreation, and physical education governing bodies need to share in the responsibility for building better relationships with Indigenous peoples. On the final day, participants took part in a “vision to action” exercise using the ten principles of reconciliation (TRC, 2015) as a step toward building a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on mutual recognition and respect. Over the course of the three days, Indigenous leaders emphasized that we must all do more than just talk about reconciliation; we must learn how to practise reconciliation in our everyday lives.
In summation, the Gathering was an opportunity for participants to not simply envision, but take action toward creating a society that confronts the role sport can play in supporting the healing and reconciliation necessary for the city of Winnipeg, the province of Manitoba, and country of Canada to become stronger and more inclusive for future generations."
To read the full Sport and Reconciliation Gathering report, written and edited by Dr. Heather McRae, Dr. Moneca Sinclaire, Dr. Delia Douglas, and Bruce Miller, click the link below
Have a look at what was tweeted from the gathering at the hashtag #UMSRG2018