There has been a recent push in the sport psychology literature for sport participants to be approached based on their cultural backgrounds. However, there are few examples where a cultural approach is considered, such as a culturally reflexive version of participatory action research (PAR). In the current study, the role of family is considered in relation to the sport engagement of Canadian Aboriginal youth.
Mainstream researchers teamed with coresearchers from the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve for 5 years. Community meetings and talking circles were employed as culturally sensitive data collection techniques to uncover how to encourage youth participation in Wikwemikong’s sport programs. The overarching methodology for the project is PAR.
Themes and subthemes were determined by community consensus with terms indigenous (ie, culturally relevant) among the local Aboriginal culture. Family was considered important for youth involvement in Aboriginal community sport programs. Parents were expected to support their children by managing schedules and priorities, providing transportation, financial support, encouragement, and being committed to the child’s activity. Aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings, grandparents, and the family as a whole were seen as sharing the responsibility to retain youth in sport through collateral support (ie, when gaps in parental support arose).
Suggestions are proposed regarding how families in Aboriginal communities can collaborate to facilitate sport and physical activity among their youth. Further suggestions are proposed for researchers engaging in culturally reflexive research with participants and coresearchers from oppressed cultures.