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Canada’s ski journey towards Indigenous participation

Canada’s ski journey towards Indigenous participation

On this National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, we take a moment to pause, listen, learn, and be part of meaningful change. It is not a process that begins and ends in one day, but rather an ongoing commitment of time and effort.

Skate Canada has launched several initiatives around Indigenous engagement, and we will continue to do so through our Community of Practice and Education Plan. Let us all remember that as we honor the past, it is important that we continue our ongoing efforts to support and uplift Indigenous communities.

Over the past year, Skate Canada has launched several initiatives aimed at bridging the gap between skateboarding and Indigenous communities. These efforts not only celebrated Indigenous heritage, but also sought to dispel misconceptions and create an inclusive space for all Canadians. As part of its 2022-2026 Strategic Plan, Skate Canada is committed to continuing to connect and build meaningful relationships.

In October 2022, Skate Canada hosted an engagement panel with Clayton Sandy, a respected member of the Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation, and our National Service Center staff. During the sharing episode, Clayton shared his personal experiences and stories, fostering a sense of unity and understanding.

A few months later, in April 2023, a virtual session with members of the Section Coordinating Committee (SCC) titled “Dispelling Misconceptions About Indigenous Peoples,” aimed to educate committee members on ten common misconceptions surrounding Indigenous peoples. This session also provided information to debunk these stereotypes. Skate Canada is committed to breaking down barriers and fostering a more informed and inclusive society, and will continue to reach out and provide opportunities for our members to learn as we move forward.

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In June 2023, as part of National Indigenous History Month, Skate Canada showcased Clayton Sandy’s personal story and all of the important work he has done in education and reconciliation. By highlighting Clayton’s accomplishments, we not only recognized his contributions, but also underscored the importance of Indigenous representation and the work we still have to accomplish.

Skate Canada also took advantage of social media for its showcase Kaneki Allerton, a young star skater from Nunavut, shows his absolute joy and passion for skateboarding as we celebrate National Indigenous Peoples’ Day. We recognize the importance of representation not only in figure skating but in sports in general. When young athletes entering the sport can see themselves in others, it gives them hope and provides inspiration that they can achieve similar feats to those who come from a similar background or culture to them.

Working with Clifford A. Mushkwash and John Henry Komanda, our National Service Center staff participated in the comprehensive Kairos exercise just a few days ago. This exercise is an interactive teaching learning tool that reconstructs events from Canadian history and educates our staff by retelling these situations from an Indigenous perspective. The exercise concluded with a sharing session where individuals were able to comment and share their experiences.

In conclusion, Skate Canada’s journey towards Indigenous engagement and community building is an ongoing effort to understand and continue to work in “good ways.” This work falls under the larger umbrella of embracing diversity and inclusion.

We will continue to build on these initiatives and hope to set a valuable precedent for other organizations to follow our example, promoting unity and mutual respect among all Canadians, regardless of their cultural backgrounds.

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About National Day of Truth and Reconciliation

It falls on September 30 every year National Day of Truth and Reconciliation. This day honors children who never returned home and residential school survivors, as well as their families and communities. Public remembrance of the tragic and painful history and ongoing effects of residential schools is a vital component of the reconciliation process. This federal statutory holiday was created by Legislative amendments Made by Parliament.

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