Here's how you can help ensure recognition for Indigenous athletes

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support for as little as $5 per month!


rabble is expanding our Parliamentary Bureau and we need your help! Support us on Patreon today!

Keep Karl on Parl

Are you a coach, athlete or sports fan? Then this week's edition of reconciliation resolution is for you.

This holiday season has partnered with Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto to launch a campaign urging Canadians to take up implementing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a new year's resolution for 2016. Here's how. This week we're talking about sports and Reconciliation, Recommendation #87. Here's the call to action: 

We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.

Implementing TRC Recommendation #87 can be done by anyone. I call upon all of those reading this post to make a point of using your voice to do the following to ensure that Canada's Indigenous peoples are remembered as having played an important part in the bringing a strong athleticism to the national arena.

Write a letter to your local Member of Legislative Assembly or Member of Parliament asking him or her to:

  • Write a letter of support to include Aboriginal peoples as part of sports hall of fames' public education
  • Bring this to the attention of the Minister of Small Business and Tourism, the Honourable Minister Bardish Chagger
  • To raise this issue in Parliament during Question Period
  • To bring this to the attention of the Leader of the Opposition to ask the question during Question Period in Parliament  
  • To raise the issue with key partners and stakeholders at the Annual Tourism Congress or Canadian Council of Tourism Ministers' meeting in 2016, which will be held in Winnipeg
  • Tweet the Honourable Minister Bardish Chagger at @MinofSBT and get your friends to flood and start trending using a specific hashtag like #cansportshall or #fnsportshall

Addresses for all MPs can be found by clicking this link.

Bring this to the attention of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame:

  • Contact regional and Canada's Sports Hall of Fame about sharing the stories of Aboriginal athletes, developing programming, and volunteering
  • Write letters to the Sports Hall of Fame using snail mail or email. Click here for that address.
  • Start a petition to send a general email the President & CEO & Director, Exhibits & Programming of Canada's Sports Hall of Fame about having a permanent exhibit about an Aboriginal inductee. Learn about the Firth twins,
  • Learn about athletes like Ted Nolan, Fred Saskamoose, and Sharon and Shirley Firth, who became the first Indigenous inductees to Canada's Sports Hall of Fame on Tuesday December 8 of 2015.
  • Volunteer with a sports hall of fame and create a stream of communication with them to have more Aboriginal public education about Aboriginal inductees

Bring this to the attention of Aboriginal communities and leaders and ask them to:

  • Speak to Aboriginal sports hall of fame inductees about seeking election as a Governor for regional or Canada's Sports Hall of Fame. As there currently aren't any Aboriginal or visible minorities on the National Board of Governors.
  • Get your local school involved by talking to a school teacher to ask if their classrooms would be interested in doing project on one of the few Aboriginal sports hall of fame inductees.  As part of the curriculum students could write letters, mail their art projects or letters to the sports hall of fame, and start a website or blog highlighting them. This school project could also be showcased at a local community centre. With the consent of children and their parents, contact the media, they are often looking to highlight this type of feel good campaign at the end of the six o'clock news.
  • To write the regional and national board of governors at various sports halls of fame asking them to permit a permanent board seat for a qualified racially diverse governor.
  • Tweet, email, or talk to representatives of Indian Bands, Métis locals, regional and national Aboriginal political organizations to campaign for more public education of Aboriginal inductees. A few such organizations are: the Chiefs of Ontario, British Columbia Assembly of First Nations, First Nations Summit, Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, Dene National Assembly, and the Métis National Council.
  • Get in touch with local Aboriginal sports organizations and ask them to sign on to this campaign, a few examples of such organizations include: Aboriginal Sports BC; Aboriginal Sports, Recreation and Physical Activity Partners Council (ASRPA); Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council Inc
  • Contact APTN about highlighting inductees or forgotten Aboriginal athletes who have competed nationally or internationally

Other ways you can implement this TRC Recommendation #87:

  • Talk, email, or tweet Clara Hughes (Olympian, hall of fame inductee, and Honorary TRC Witness) about bringing Recommendation #87 to the attention to the board of governors or bring attention to this issue.
  • Go to your local museum and talk to a curator about curating an exhibit about Aboriginal sports iconography and elite Aboriginal athletes (like inductees). This could one day be a travelling exhibit and be showcased at a hall of fame, you never know!

These are just a few of my ideas on how to implement TRC recommendation #87 highlighting Aboriginal inductees in public legal education for sports hall of fames. Let's see how we can make some small changes with just a few short key strokes or lending your voice to this important issue.

To see more ideas about how you can work toward reconciliation in 2016, click here

If you have more ideas about how to do this, click here to share and discuss them on babble, or tweet @rabbleca.

This series is produced in partnership with Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto (ALST).

Christina Gray is an Indigenous (Tsimshian, Dene, Métis) lawyer who is called to the bar in Ontario. She articled at Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and is currently on a short-term contract in the East African country of Uganda.  Follow her on Twitter at @stinagray_

rabble is expanding our Parliamentary Bureau and we need your help! Support us on Patreon today!

Keep Karl on Parl

Further Reading

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable. has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.