Indigenous Youth (Non)Participation in Euro-Canadian Sport: Applying Theories of Refusal

in Sociology of Sport Journal
View More View Less
  • 1 School of Kinesiology and Health Science, York University, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • | 2 School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • | 3 School of People, Environment and Planning, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
  • | 4 Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Restricted access

Much of the research on Indigenous youth’s sport has focused on the barriers that they experience in accessing opportunities for participation. What remains underexplored is the idea that nonparticipation might actually reflect Indigenous youth’s deliberate refusal of Euro-Canadian sport. In making this argument, first, we connect Indigenous theories of refusal to Indigenous youth sport participation in Canada. Second, we examine the researcher’s role in reproducing colonialism in sport studies. Third, we apply examples of Indigenous refusal of sport. We conclude by discerning the central tensions of the topic and areas for future study. This paper is a call for researchers to study refusal, not only as an act by Indigenous youth, but also as a method that researchers can use in refusing to reproduce colonial representations of Indigenous youth.

Nachman (jessnach@yorku.ca) is corresponding author, https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6081-0628

  • Aboriginal Sport Circle. (2022). About. Aboriginal sport circle. https://www.aboriginalsportcircle.ca/about

  • Arellano, A., & Downey, A. (2019). Sport-for-development and the failure of Aboriginal subjecthood: Re-imagining lacrosse as resurgence in indigenous communities. Settler Colonial Studies, 9(4), 457478. https://doi.org/10.1080/2201473X.2018.1537078

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Arellano, A., Friis, J., & Stuart, S.A. (2019). Pathways to reconciliation: The Kitcisakik land-based education initiative. Leisure/Loisir, 43(3), 389417. https://doi.org/10.1080/14927713.2019.1629832

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Bains, A., & Szto, C. (2020). Brown skin, white ice: South Asian specific ice hockey programming in Canada. South Asian Popular Culture, 18(3), 181199. https://doi.org/10.1080/14746689.2020.1815445

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blodgett, A.T., Schinke, R.J., Fisher, L.A., Yungblut, H.E., Recollet-Saikkonen, D., Peltier, D., Ritche, S.D., & Pickard, P. (2010). Praxis and community-level sport programming strategies in a Canadian Aboriginal reserve. International Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 8(3), 262283. https://doi.org/10.1080/1612197X.2010.9671953

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Blodgett, A.T., Schinke, R.J., McGannon, K.R., Coholic, D.A., Enosse, L., Peltier, D., & Pheasant, C. (2014). Navigating the insider-outsider hyphen: A qualitative exploration of the acculturation challenges of Aboriginal athletes pursuing sport in Euro-Canadian contexts. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 15(4), 345355. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2014.02.009

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Castleden, H., Garvin, T., & Huu-ay-aht First Nation. (2008). Modifying photovoice for community-based participatory indigenous research. Social Science & Medicine, 66(6), 13931405. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2007.11.030

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Coulthard, G. (2014). Red skin, white masks: Rejecting the colonial politics of recognition. University of Minnesota Press.

  • Deer, K. (2020a). Iroquois Nationals lacrosse team to compete in 2022 World Games after initial exclusion. CBC News: Indigenous. https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/supporters-challenge-iroquois-nationals-exclusion-from-2022-world-games-1.5662381

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Deer, K. (2020b). Supporters challenge Iroquois Nationals’ exclusion from 2022 World Games. CBC News: Indigenous. https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/supporters-challenge-iroquois-nationals-exclusion-from-2022-world-games-1.5662381

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Downey, A. (2018). The Creator’s game : Lacrosse, identity, and Indigenous nationhood. UBC Press.

  • DyckFehderau, D., Holt, N.L., Ball, G.D., Alexander First Nation Community, & Willows, N.D. (2013). Feasibility study of asset mapping with children: Identifying how the community environment shapes activity and food choices in Alexander First Nation. Rural and Remote Health, 13(2), Article 2289. https://doi.org/10.22605/RRH2289

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Findlay, L.C., & Kohen, D.E. (2007). Aboriginal children’s sport participation in Canada. Pimatisiwin, 5(1), 186206.

  • Finlay, L. (2002). Negotiating the swamp: The opportunity and challenge of reflexivity in research practice. Qualitative Research, 2(2), 209230. https://doi.org/10.1177/146879410200200205

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Forsyth, J. (2020). Reclaiming tom longboat. University of Regina Press.

  • Forsyth, J., & Heine, M. (2008). Sites of meaning, meaningful sites? Sport and recreation for Aboriginal youth in inner city Winnipeg, Manitoba. Native Studies Review, 17(2), 99113.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Foulds, H.J.A., Warbuton, D.E.R., & Bredin, S.S.D. (2013). A systematic review of physical activity levels in Native American populations in Canada and the United States in the last 50 years. Obesity Reviews, 14(7), 598603. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pmedr.2017.11.002

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Galipeau, M. (2009). A case study of Alberta’s Future Leaders Program (AFL): Developing Aboriginal youth leadership through cross-cultural mentorship, and sport, recreation, and arts programming (Publication No. MR86138) [Master’s thesis, University of Ottawa]. Library and Archives Canada.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Grossman, E. (2016). Native American lacrosse stars bring the sport to help mend the Sioux community near the Dakota Access Pipeline protests. New York Daily News. https://www.nydailynews.com/sports/lacrosse-stars-bring-game-frontlines-pipeline-protest-article-1.2885087

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Halas, J., McRae, H., & Petherick, J. (2012). Advice for physical education teachers from Aboriginal youth: Become an ally. Physical and Health Education Journal, 78(3), 611.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hansen, L. (2019). Reconstructing the silence/speech dichotomy in feminist security studies: Gender, agency and the politics of subjectivitiy in La Frontière Invisible. In J.L. Parpart & S. Parashar (Eds.), Rethinking silence, voice and agency in contested gendered terrains (pp. 2749). Routledge.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Haraway, D. (1988). Situated knowledges: The science question in feminism and the privilege of partial perspective. Feminist Studies, 14(3), 575599. https://doi.org/10.2307/3178066

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hayhurst, L.M., Giles, A.R., & Wright, J. (2016). Biopedagogies and Indigenous knowledge: Examining sport for development and peace for Indigenous urban young women in Canada and Australia. Sport, Education, and Society, 21(4), 549569. https://doi.org/10.1080/13573322.2015.1110132

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hayhurst, L.M.C., & Giles, A. (2013). Private and moral authority, self-determination, and the domestic transfer objective: Foundations for understanding sport for development and peace in Aboriginal communities in Canada. Sociology of Sport Journal, 30(4), 504519. https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.30.4.504

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Hayhurst, L.M.C., Giles, A.R., & Radforth, W. (2015). “I want to come here to prove them wrong”: Examining a sport, gender and development program for urban Indigenous young women in Vancouver, Canada. Sport in Society, 18(5), 553568. https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2014.997585

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Joseph, J., Darnell, S.C., & Nakamura, Y. (2012). Race and sport in Canada: Intersecting inequalities. Canadian Scholars Press.

  • Kidd, B. (2008). A new social movement: Sport for development and peace. Sport in Society, 11(4), 370380. https://doi.org/10.1080/17430430802019268

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kovach, M. (2021). Indigenous methodologies: Characteristics, conversations and contexts. University of Toronto Press,

  • Kowal, E. & Paradies, Y. (2017). Indigeneity and the refusal of whiteness. Postcolonial Studies, 20(1), 101117. https://doi.org/10.1080/13688790.2017.1334287

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Kuokkanen, R. (2012). Self-determination and Indigenous women’s rights at the intersection of international human rights. Human Rights Quarterly, 34(1), 225250. https://doi.org/10.1353/hrq.2012.0000

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Lyons, T., Krüsi, A., Pierre, L., Smith, A., Small, W., & Shannon, K. (2016). Experiences of trans women and two-spirit persons accessing women-specific health and housing services in a downtown neighborhood of Vancouver, Canada. LGBT Health, 3(5), 373378. https://doi.org/10.1089/lgbt.2016.0060

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Manzon-Gartner, S., & Giles, A.R. (2016). A case study of the lasting impacts of employment in a development through sport, recreation, and the arts program for Aboriginal youth. Sport in Society, 19(2), 115. https://doi.org/10.1080/17430437.2015.1067770

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mason, C.W., & Koehli, J. (2012). Barriers to physical activity for Aboriginal youth: Implications for community health, policy, and culture. Pimatisiwin: A Journal of Aboriginal and Indigenous Community Health, 10(1), 97107.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Mason, C.W., McHugh, T.F., Strachan, L., & Boule, K.L. (2018). Urban Indigenous youth perspectives on access to physical activity programs in Canada. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 11(4), 543558. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2018.1514321

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McGuire-Adams, T.D. (2020). Paradigm shifting: Centering Indigenous research methodologies, an Anishinaabe perspective. Qualitative Research in Sport, Exercise and Health, 12(1), 3447. https://doi.org/10.1080/2159676X.2019.1662474

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • McHugh, T.F., Deal, C.J., Blye, C., Dimler, A.J., Halpenny, E.A., Sivak, A., & Holt, N.L. (2019). A meta-study of qualitative research examining sport and recreation experiences of Indigenous youth. Qualitative Health Research, 29(1), 4254. https://doi.org/10.1177/1049732318759668

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Moreton-Robinson, A. (2021) Incommensurable sovereignties: Indigenous ontology matters. In B. Hokowhitu, A. Moreton-Robinson, L. Tuhiwai Smith, C. Andersen & S. Larkin (Eds.), Routledge handbook of critical indigenous studies (pp. 257268). Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Ortner, S.B. (1995). Resistance and the problem of ethnographic refusal. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 37(1), 173193.

  • Ortner, S.B. (2001). Specifying agency: The Comaroffs and their critics. Interventions, 3(1) 7684. https://doi.org/10.1080/13698010020027038

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Paraschak, V. (2012). Aboriginal peoples and the construction of Canadian sport policy. In J. Forsyth & A. Giles (Eds.), Aboriginal peoples & Sport in Canada (pp. 95123). UBC Press.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Parpart, J.L. (2009). Choosing silence: Rethinking voice, agency, and women’s empowerment. In R. Ryan-Flood & R. Gill (Eds.), Secrecy and silence in the research process: Feminist reflections (pp. 1529). Routledge.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Parpart, J.L., & Parashar, S. (2019). Introduction: Rethinking the power of silence in insecure and gendered sites. In J.L. Parpart & S. Parashar (Eds.), Rethinking silence, voice and agency in contested gendered terrains (pp. 115). Routledge.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Right to Play. (2019). Reconciliation at right to play. https://righttoplay.com/en/national-offices/national-office-canada/whats-new/reconciliation/

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Robidoux, M.A. (2012). Stickhandling through the margins: First Nations hockey in Canada. University of Toronto Press.

  • Robinson, M. (2017). Two-spirit and bisexual people: Different umbrella, same rain. Journal of Bisexuality, 17(1), 729. https://doi.org/10.1080/15299716.2016.1261266

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Rovito, A., & Giles, A.R. (2016). Outside looking in: Resisting colonial discourses of Aboriginality. Leisure Sciences, 38(1), 116. https://doi.org/10.1080/01490400.2015.1057661

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Saskamoose, J., Scerbe, A., Wenaus, I., & Scandrett, A. (2016). First Nation and Métis youth perspectives of health: An Indigenous qualitative inquire. Qualitative Inquiry, 22(8), 636650. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800416629695

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sharpe, E.K., Lashua, B., & van Ingen, C. (2019). A good place for what? Placing “value” in youth centers. Leisure Science, 44(4), 497513. https://doi.org/10.1080/01490400.2019.1604277

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Simpson, A. (2007). On ethnographic refusal: Indigeneity, ‘voice’ and colonial citizenship. Junctures, 9, 67-80.right

  • Simpson, A. (2014). Indigenous interruptions: Mohawk nationhood, citizenship, and the state. Duke University Press.

  • Simpson, A. (2017). The ruse of consent and the anatomy of ‘refusal’: Cases from Indigenous North America and Australia. Postcolonial Studies, 20(1), 1833. https://doi.org/10.1080/13688790.2017.1334283

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Simpson, L.B. (2017). As we have always done: Indigenous freedom through radical resistance. University of Minnesota.

  • Smith, B., & Sparkes, A.C. (2016). Interviews: Qualitative interviewing in the sport and exercise sciences. In B. Smith & A.C. Sparkes (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research in sport and exercise (pp. 103123). Taylor and Francis.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Smith, K., Findlay, L., & Crompton, S. (2010). Participation in sports and cultural activities among Aboriginal children and youth. Statistics Canada: Canadian social trends. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/en/catalogue/11-008-X201000211286

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Sport for Life. (2021). Indigenous peoples. https://sportforlife.ca/indigenous-peoples/

  • Stanton, C.R. (2014). Crossing methodological borders: Decolonizing community-based participatory research. Qualitative Inquiry, 20(5), 573583. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800413505541

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Statistics Canada. (2003). Aboriginal peoples of Canada: A demographic profile. https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/access_acces/archive.action-eng.cfm?/english/census01/products/analytic/companion/abor/pdf/96F0030XIE2001007.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tang, K., Community Wellness Program, & Jardine, C.G. (2016). Our way of life: Importance of Indigenous culture and tradition to physical activity practices. International Journal of Indigenous Health, 11(1), 211227. https://doi.org/10.18357/ijih111201616018

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Te Hiwi, B.P. (2014). “What is the spirit of this gathering?” Indigenous sport policy-makers and self-determination in Canada. International Indigenous Policy Journal, 5(4), 116. https://doi.org/10.18584/iipj.2014.5.4.6

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • The World Games. (2020). The World Games 2022. https://twg2022.com/

  • Thorpe, H., Brice, J., & Rolleston, A. (2020). Decolonizing sport science: High performance sport, Indigenous cultures, and women’s rugby. Sociology of Sport Journal, 37(2), 7384. https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.2019-0098

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Toppo, A.O.M., & Parashar, S. (2019). Silence and indigenous women’s resistance: Jani Shikar among the adivasis of Jharkhand. In J.L. Parpart & S. Parashar (Eds.), Rethinking silence, voice and agency in contested gendered terrains (pp. 124141). Routledge.

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission. (2015). Truth and reconciliation commission of Canada: Calls to action. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/british-columbians-our-governments/indigenous-people/aboriginal-peoples-documents/calls_to_action_english2.pdf

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tuck, E., & Yang, K.W. (2012). Decolonization in not a metaphor. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 1(1), 140.

  • Tuck, E., & Yang, K.W. (2014). Unbecoming claims: Pedagogies of refusal in qualitative research. Qualitative Inquiry, 20(6), 811818. https://doi.org/10.1177/1077800414530265

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Tuhiwai Smith, L. (2021). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and Indigenous peoples (3rd ed.). Zed Books.

  • Walter, M., & Andersen, C. (2013). Indigenous statistics: A quantitative research methodology. Routledge.

  • WhitWinui, P. (2021). Decolonizing sport sociology is a “verb not a noun”: Indigenizing our way to reconciliation and inclusion in the 21st century? Alan Ingham Memorial lecture. Sociology of Sport Journal, 38(1), 315. https://doi.org/10.1123/ssj.2020-0148

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilk, P., Maltby, A., Cooke, M., & Forsyth, J. (2018). Correlates of participation in sports and physical activities among Indigenous youth. Aboriginal Policy Studies, 7(1), 6283. https://doi.org/10.5663/aps.v7i1.28563

    • Crossref
    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
  • Wilson, S. (2008). Research is ceremony: Indigenous research methods. Fernwood Publishing.

  • Zavala, M. (2013). What do we mean by decolonizing research strategies? Lessons from decolonizing, Indigenous research projects in New Zealand and Latin America. Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, 2(1), 5571.

    • Search Google Scholar
    • Export Citation
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 385 385 67
Full Text Views 13 13 3
PDF Downloads 17 17 5