MISSION: Harnessing the unifying medicine of sports to drive Social Justice, Encourage Reconciliation, and Abolish Racial Discrimination in Indigenous Communities.
VISION: Through a combination of Educational programs, Experiential Learning, and Activity based initiatives, Youth Movement programs seek to address and navigate a variety of social barriers faced by indigenous youth and empower them as athlete activists and change agents in life.
3 Tier Approach
Athletes in modern times have often been moved to protest conditions, to demonstrate that they are citizens of conscience by speaking truth to power. There have been all sorts of protests about race, gender, money and nationality in sports history, but they all have this in common: the constant struggle for justice. From Muhammad Ali to Colin Kaepernick, From Althea Gibson to Billy Jean King athletes have used their platform to be able to speak out on a myriad of social issues. Now more than ever Indigenous athletes are also rising up to join their fellow sportsmen by using their platforms to speak out on social issues pertinent to the Indigenous community. Social justice is a broad heading and the issues are interwoven but one glaring gap that continues to remain unfilled is the lack of opportunities for Indigenous students and student-athletes to attend colleges and universities. Education opens doors and echoes across generations, but considering Indigenous student-athletes make up less than 1% of Canadian and American athletic departments one could assume that schools are falling short. Youth Movement programs focus on creating Access through active educational initiatives and experiences with post-secondary institutions.
The Youth Movement Approach
By partnering with University and College Indigenous Departments, as well as Athletic and Kinesiology Faculties we create programs that allow Indigenous youth opportunities to gain experiences in a post-secondary atmosphere. Youth will have the chance to hear from other Indigenous mentors currently attending the school, student-athletes, and leading faculty. Our programs focus on Activity, Education, and Athlete Activism. Our focus is to create experiences and relationships that inspire the next generation of Indigenous leaders in sport.
TRC concluded that the destructive legacy of residential schools, and the attempted genocide of Indigenous people within Canada’s histories and borders call for changes that are both far ranging and both fundamental in Canadian culture and society. In the words of the TRC (2015, p. vi):
“(Reconciliation) requires that the racist foundations of the residential school systems be rejected as the basis for an ongoing relationship. Reconciliation requires that a new vision, based on a commitment to mutual respect, be developed. It also requires an understanding that the most harmful impacts of residential schools have been the loss of pride and self-respect of Indigenous people, and the lack of respect that non-Indigenous people have been raised to have for their Indigenous neighbours. Reconciliation is not an Indigenous problem; it is a Canadian one. Virtually all aspects of Canadian society may need to be reconsidered.
Furthermore, The TRC Report also challenges all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Indigenous athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel.
“Indigenous youth today face many barriers to leading active, healthy lives in their communities,” the report states. “They lack opportunities to pursue excellence in sports. There is little access to culturally relevant traditional sports activities that strengthen Indigenous identity and instill a sense of pride and self-confidence. A lack of resources, sports facilities, and equipment limits their ability to play sports. Racism remains an issue.” Justice Murray Sinclair, who chaired the TRC Commission, stated that, “Indigenous girls face the extra barrier of gender discrimination.
The TRC’s Call to action #90, reads: “We call upon the federal government to ensure that national sports policies, programs, and initiatives are inclusive of Indigenous peoples, including, but not limited to, establishing:
1. In collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, stable funding for, and access to, community sports programs that reflect the diverse cultures and traditional sporting activities of Aboriginal peoples. 2. An elite athlete development program for Aboriginal athletes. 3. Programs for coaches, trainers and sports officials that are culturally relevant for Indigenous peoples. 4. Anti-racism awareness and training programs.
The Youth Movement Approach
By partnering with Sports Organizations, Athletes, and Community Groups, we create once in a lifetime experiences for Indigenous youth. Youth Movement participants have the opportunity to take part in game day experiences and get up close and personal with professional athletes. We also partner with sports organizations on clinics and events. Additionally we work with sports clubs to instill Land Acknowledgement Statements before games.
Racial incidents involving Indigenous athletes and teams have become an all too common occurrence to read about in today's headline. Whether it's an amateur hockey team being showered with racist profanities during a game or a Nike ambassador like Lyle Thompson being subjected to racist language regarding his braid. We now more than ever need tools to educate and combat these incidents. Much the same as training physically, Indigenous athletes must now also possess the mental tools and knowledge regarding how to properly speak out using their platforms.
The Youth Movement Approach
Our educational programs include youth development workshops tailored to the needs of the modern day Indigenous athlete. These development workshop equip and prepare Indigenous athletes with the tools necessary to discuss and address matters of racism, prejudice, diversity and inclusivity within their teams, schools, leagues and communities. Participants learn about the history of race and sports, the power of sports to drive change and how they can use their social platforms to become leaders in improving relations. Topics include athlete activism, racial imagery and terms in sports, race and social media, influence of media and sports as a vehicle of change.
In 2017 the first Youth Movement Field Day on Canadian soil took place at Ron Joyce Stadium on the campus of McMaster University. 50 Indigenous youth from both the Six Nations, New Credit and the Hamilton Community attended the day long camp. The camp serves as an educational and active day for Indigenous students in grades 3rd-8th. The day incorporated stations that encourage movement, play, and fun as well as special guest speakers. Field Day also encourages Indigenous students to be inspired to be healthy active members of their communities now and in the future. Another objective of the camp comes to counter obesity rates among Indigenous children. A large cultural component of the camp happens in the afternoon session as the children learn from jingle dancers. At the day’s end each student received a free goodie bag for attending! Community partners included McMaster Athletics, The Hamilton Tiger-Cats, the CFL HOF, the HRIC, Six Nations Elected Council, and Six Nations Parks and Recreation.
Field Day Year 2
Building on the momentum from Year 1, Field Day Year 2 saw 80 Indigenous youth from the Six Nations, New Credit and the Hamilton Community attend the day long camp at Ron Joyce Stadium on the Camus of McMaster University for a day of Activity, Education, and Activism.
field day video
Access to Sport for Indigenous Females
Mission: To Encourage and Enhance the presence of Indigenous women at all levels and areas of sport including but not limited to– as athletes, administrators, officials, coaches and trainers.
Vision: The TRC Report challenges all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth. With respect to this the Youth Movement AS-IF program aims to Empower Indigenous Female Athletes to become leaders and ambassadors of sport in both University and Indigenous community's through Mentorship, Campus Visits, and Field Trips.
JC Hill Elementary School
Grade 8 students from J.C. Hill Elementary had the opportunity to learn more about athletic opportunities close to home last Saturday, the students participated in inter-squad scrimmages during the half-times of both the McMaster Marauders women’s and men’s basketball games, and took tours of the facilities. roy Hill, Grade 8 Teacher, Basketball Coach and former vice principal of J.C. Hill explained the motive behind the trip.
“This was to experience life as a student athlete,” said Hill. “To show the kids what it would be like if they were in athletics and what they could do in post-secondary education. This was so that they could see it, and view it as more achievable.”
Offering students opportunities such as this to help build their futures early on is probably one of the most beneficial, as by 2020, 60 per cent of all jobs will require post-secondary education. But Hill picked up on just how many were focusing solely on lacrosse as a path into the future.
“I wanted to focus more on the athletic facilities because we have so many lacrosse players,” he said. “We’re just developing basketball on Six Nations, so I want them to see the options out there.”
But, leaving home is a big step for most looking forward to post-secondary education. Hill explained that he also wanted the students to experience the sense of family McMaster University offers.
“That’s the part about our people is that if you’re living on the reserve it’s hard to see what’s out there, aside from Syracuse, and aside the other universities that they seem to gravitate toward for lacrosse. They also got to see an actual basketball program.”
“It was important for them to see indigenous studies and let them be a part of it, so when they come off of the reserve and they come to a big university, they’ll have a place to call home and that’s a big aspect of it.”
After playing the first of two sets of basketball scrimmages, Isaac Squire, one of the Grade 8 students from J.C. Hill said that that experience was “really good”.
“They wanted to show us around and show us what they have to offer and stuff like that,” he said. “My favourite part was probably playing basketball, but we also got to eat here and they made Indian tacos and strawberry juice.
Although dubbing basketball a hobby of his, Squire said that he and the group were also shown the facilities; including the many alternate fields for the McMaster field lacrosse program.
“They talked about the opportunities and stuff too,” he said.
A Day in the Life of a Student-Athlete Basketball Camp
The Youth Movement travelled to the Lubicon Cree community of Little Buffalo to hold a 2-day long sport/education camp at Little Buffalo elementary school. Students took part in sport activities and heard from speakers regarding how to become change agents and leaders. Anti-Racism initiatives and resources were disseminated to the youth in addition to Hamilton Tiger-Cat jerseys.
Global Water Futures 2018 Sport&Science Camp
The Youth Movement once again returned to the Lubicon Community of Little Buffalo to take part in the Global Water Futures research program. Global Water Futures (GWF), is the world’s largest university-led freshwater research program. The University of Saskatchewan-led research program established within the Global Institute for Water Security in 2016 and funded in part by a $77.8-million grant from the Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The research goal is to transform the way communities, governments and industries in Canada and other cold regions of the world prepare for and manage increasing water-related threats. The program was developed and funded in part by the U of S with three key partners – the University of Waterloo, McMaster University, and Wilfrid Laurier University. The Youth Movement organized the Sport Activism component of the program once again partnering with Little Buffalo Elementary School.
Program gives indigenous youth opportunity to experience game day at Tim Hortons Field
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats announced Wednesday the launch of the June Jones Youth Movement program, presented by LiUNA. Taking into account Tiger-Cats head coach June Jones’ history and work with the indigenous Polynesian community, the June Jones Youth Movement will give hundreds of indigenous youth from Six Nations of the Grand River and the local Hamilton community the opportunity to experience a Tiger-Cats game day at Tim Hortons Field for each remaining home game of the 2018 season.
“In my experience working with youth of American Samoa, football has created great opportunity for many Polynesian young people that they otherwise may not have had,” said Jones. “I wanted to find a way for indigenous youth in the Hamilton area to become exposed to the game of football to primarily create a memorable experience for them, but also to possibly inspire a new generation of football players who may find opportunity through the sport in the future.”
To facilitate this initiative, the Ticats have partnered with the Youth Movement, an outreach arm of McMaster’s Indigenous Student Services department which exists to ensure long-term development and growth in sport for First Nations, Inuit and Metis youth.
“The formation of the June Jones Youth Movement signifies the Hamilton Tiger-Cats’ commitment to reconciliation in this country,” said John Williams 2nd, Director of the McMaster Youth Movement. “The club has a track record of helping break down barriers in sport that began with Bernie Custis and will continue with the indigenous youth involved in this program. This is a monumental step towards promoting awareness of the past treatment of indigenous peoples as well as the ongoing process of truth and reconciliation.”
The June Jones Youth Movement program includes 30 tickets for indigenous youth for each of the Ticats’ six remaining home games as well as bus transportation and chaperones to and from each game, pre-game field level access to watch warm up and a Hamilton Proud Youth Movement t-shirt. The Youth Movement will help to identify youth to take part in the program.
INDIGENOUS Female Athletes and Contemporary Issues
During the North American Indigenous Games the Youth Movement held an Indigenous woman in Sport panel on campus the campus of McMaster University. The panel which featured both former Indigenous athletes and members of the 2016 documentary Keepers of the Game discussed barriers and challenges for Indigenous female student-athletes at Canadian Universities and the discrimination they face.
Indigenous Sport and Wellness Council/Youth Movement visit with the Toronto Argonauts
The Youth Movement partnered with the Indigenous Sport and Wellness Council and the Toronto Argonauts to bring 30 youth from Chimnissing First Nation on Christian Island out to training camp at York University. Student’s took in practice, met current players, and received gift bags. In the afternoon participants engaged in a sport leadership workshop put on by the ISWC.
Jeff Reinebold is a 32 year coaching veteran with 16 seasons of pro football experience. His coaching stops include the CFL, NFL Europe again and the NCAA. He is currently a Sky Sports NFL Analyst and International Clinic Speaker. Jeff has been involved in a plethora of social issues for a great number of years. From Indigenous land rights in Montana and BC to the indigenous populations in Polynesia - He is also a Proud father of four children and an avid waterman. (@Jeff_Reinebold) · Twitter