Moving towards reconciliation through sport: Sharing our process of exploring team saskatchewan experiences at the North American Indigenous Games


Unanticipated benefits emerge when Indigenous partners and academics come together to share project authority and knowledge. Drawing on examples from our research into Team Saskatchewan's experiences at the North American Indigenous Games, we highlight the impact that engaged methodologies can have on the research process and product. Working with and guiding the faculty researchers and student trainees on this project is a steering committee consisting of sport Knowledge Keepers and other Indigenous sport leaders. Provincial sport organization delegates and funders are also active contributors. The steering committee, along with project participants, sets research priorities, provides direction and assistance with methodology, and identifies integrated and end-of-project knowledge mobilization goals. Beyond one-on-one interviews gathering oral stories and lived experiences from Team Saskatchewan leaders and builders, our wholistically-informed methodology has organically led to conversational group interviews (Kovach, 2009) with Team Saskatchewan athletes, coaches, and organizers. The committee has also helped identify, collect, and examine manuscripts, documents, video archival sources, and sport equipment/memorabilia. Prior to contact, sport played an integral role in Indigenous peoples' culture and wholistic wellness (Heine, 2013), and today it continues to provide opportunities to share culture (Downey, 2018). We highlight ways that academics can respectfully share in reconciliation through sport by embracing the role of trustful allies who take their lead from Indigenous partners who are willing to share authority in a symbiotic relationship. Such relationships actualize research objectives by identifying novel and meaningful directions for project growth, and build both academic and Indigenous capacity through reciprocal knowledge transfer.

Acknowledgments: Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame Sport History Project Grant