Indigenous Sport Timeline

Sask Sport, supported by the Indigenous Sport Leadership Council, is proud to present an Indigenous Sport Timeline. This timeline celebrates the growth in Indigenous sport participation throughout Saskatchewan.

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1972

Sask Sport is founded

to establish a fundraising program, present a unified voice for amateur sport and develop collective programs and services beneficial to sport.

1974

Saskatchewan Lotteries fundraiser

Sask Sport is authorized to operate Saskatchewan Lotteries as a fundraiser for eligible sport, culture and recreation groups in the province.

1974

Community embraces First Nations Games

Saskatchewan youth participate in the first Summer Games, hosted by Cote First Nations and founded by Elder Tony Cote. The First Nations Winter Games began in 1980.

1985

Community Grant Program (formally known as TIP) was created to provide enhanced investments directly to communities.

1985

Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) partners with Sask Sport.

1970 TO 1989

1990

Greg Murdock is hired to help Sask Sport open doors and build relationships within the community.

1991

Sask Sport focuses priorities

The Aboriginal Advisory Committee for Sport, under the direction of Lyle Daniels, is created to provide advice and input for programs and services in support of Indigenous children and youth.

1993

New Tribal Council Coordinator Program is created to increase participation in sport, culture and recreation at the community level.

1993

Northern Communities Supported

The Northern Community Development Program is created through the Northern Recreation Coordinating Community to support community development in the north.

1993

NAIG in Prince Albert

Saskatchewan hosts the second-ever North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Prince Albert with 4,400 participants in 15 sports. The first games were in Edmonton in 1990 with Team Saskatchewan winning the team title for four straight games.

1993

A Sport For All manual is written to promote diverse participation in sport.

1994

Strengthening inclusion partnerships

Increased capacity for multi-sport games through hiring of a Sport for All/Games Coordinator with the FSIN and Métis Nation Saskatchewan (MN-S).

1990 TO 1994

1995

National Aboriginal Sport Circle created in response to the need for more accessible and equitable sport and recreation opportunities.

1995

Zone 9

Sask Games Council creates Zone 9 to increase participation of northern residents in Saskatchewan Games.

1995

Sask Sport partners to establish KidSport in Saskatchewan to help families overcome financial obstacles to participation in sport.

1996

"We (volunteers) are in a pretty good position to have influence on public policy for sport and how sport is delivered in the province."

- Dorothy Josephson, first Indigenous Board of Directors president

1996

Northern community development sparks school partnership

through the Northern Community & Schools Recreation program piloted in Cumberland House, La Loche and Ile a la Crosse. The program aims to increase participation in sport, culture and recreation activities in Northern communities.

1997

FSIN and MN-S receives direct funding for Sport Development.

1997

The Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund approves funding to support the Northern Saskatchewan Games and Culture Festival hosted in Buffalo Narrows in 1997. The Festival continues under the theme "Knowing Each Other" with the last event held in 2013.

1999

National Aboriginal Coaching Manual is established to respond to the need for a national training curriculum with content that reflects the uniqueness of cultures, values and lifestyles.

1995 TO 1999

2001

Community consultations held

to enhance communication of funding opportunities, develop best practices and increase Indigenous participants across the sport system.

2002

Saskatchewan participates in National Aboriginal Hockey Championship for first time. To date Saskatchewan has won the championship 13 times.

2003

Joe Daniels is on secondment from Sask Sport to assist with the 2005 Canada Summer Games in Regina.

2003

Approximately $3.5 Million

in Annual Funding is provided for targeted sport, culture and recreation initiatives to increase Indigenous participation.

2003

Sask Sport, SaskCulture and Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association release the Aboriginal Action Plan as a result of the earlier community consultations to further develop relationships with communities and organizations in support of increased participation.

2003

Community Initiatives Fund (CIF) is created with dedicated funding to support Aboriginal participation and leadership programs. The next four programs and initiatives benefited from the CIF.

2003

Increased funding for the North

The Northern Community & Schools Recreation Coordinator Program is expanded into 25 new schools by 2003. The program currently serves 4,917 afterschool participants through 7,290 program sessions.

2003

The Urban Aboriginal Community Grant Program with funding from CIF increases access to and for the development of sport, culture and recreation programming.

2003

The Aboriginal Participation Initiative provides FSIN and MN-S with funding to support enhanced participation.

2003

Prince Albert, Regina and Saskatoon participate in the Urban Leadership Program designed to develop and implement quality city-wide leadership and training initiatives.

2004

Building Bridges Through Sport

Sask Sport, the FSIN, MN-S and the Government of Saskatchewan host a three-day Aboriginal Sport Development Conference to create connections throughout the sport system.

2000 TO 2004

2005

Legacy funds from the Canada Games hosted in Regina are invested into sport opportunities at the community level.

2006

Seeds of Success

Sask Sport launches Seeds of Success Campaign to celebrate Indigenous achievements in sport in the province.

2006

SaskTel Aboriginal Youth Awards

Sask Sport sponsors Sport and Recreation Award.

2006

A new general participation Federal-Provincial Bilateral agreement is used to create new community-based programming.

2006

Sask Sport launches Dream Brokers

in three urban Regina Community schools supported by the Canada Games Legacy Fund. The program helps connect families to resources that help to overcome the barriers to participation in sport, culture and recreation programs.

2006

Give Kids a Chance Charity Inc

Give Kids a Chance Charity Inc was created as the umbrella charity for community programs. The charity serves children who face barriers to participation in sport, culture and recreation programs.

2006

Lessons Learned

Sask Sport partners with the University of Regina to complete study "Lessons Learned: Recruiting, Training and Retaining Aboriginal Volunteers at Sporting Events" after two major competitions were hosted in the province.

2007

797 local leaders are trained through

the newly established Aboriginal Coaches and Officials Program, now Indigenous Coaches and Officials Program.

2007

The Aboriginal Excellence Program,

now Indigenous Sport Enhancement Program, was created to raise the performance level of athletes in the Long Term Athlete Development model.

2007

Provincial Sport Organizations begin to implement voluntary self-identification to better understand member needs.

2008

Sask Sport Aboriginal Services Unit established to partner and facilitate opportunities for Saskatchewan Indigenous communities in sport, culture and recreation.

2008

Tribal Council Coordinator program expands to partner with independent First Nations to align with the First Nations Games program.

2008

Approximately $5 Million

in Annual Funding is provided for targeted sport, culture and recreation initiatives to increase Indigenous participation.

2008

The Community Sport Planning Toolkit

is developed alongside the Aboriginal Community Sport Grant to help build community capacity to offer quality organized sport programs for youth.

2008

Sask Sport releases a four-year strategy for Aboriginal Sport Development called "Building a Foundation for the Future."

2008

Sask Sport committees adopt guidelines to respect Elder protocols and traditions.

2008

Sask Sport sponsors a new male and female category for Sport/Rec Awards at the SaskTel Indigenous Youth Awards.

2008

Jacqueline Lavallee

Local basketball and soccer athlete and coach wins the National Aboriginal Sport Circle 2008 Tom Longboat Coach Award, after winning the Tom Longboat Athlete award in 2000. She is a member of three local sports hall of fames, a teacher at Oskāyak High School and a basketball assistant coach at the University of Saskatchewan. She also was selected as a Canadian torch bearer for the 2010 Olympic Games.

2009

$25,000 allocated

Aboriginal Sport Enhancement is revised to provide team development for National Aboriginal Hockey Championships.

2009

Hosting grant for Tony Cote First Nations Games increased to $100,000.

2005 TO 2009

2010

With the assistance of the Indigenous Sport Leadership Council, stronger efforts are made by Sask Sport to measure and share the impacts of Indigenous participation throughout the sport system.

2010

A coordinator is hired to enhance relationships and communication in partnership with MN-S.

2010

Audra Young is elected president of the Sask Sport Board of Directors. Her involvement continues as the chair of the Indigenous Sport Leadership Council.

2010

The Dream Brokers program makes a difference in Regina communities and expands into Saskatoon.

2011

Manager of Community Sport

Cheryl McCallum becomes Manager of Community Sport. The position was created by Sask Sport to enhance services and support community sport participation and inclusion.

2011

Sask Sport releases new Indigenous Champions poster series.

2011

Eric Honetschlager is elected president of the Sask Sport Board of Directors.

2012

Strategies focused on

Indigenous Sport Development embedded within the Sask Sport Strategic Plan.

2012

The Dream Brokers program continues its strong reputation in the province with further expansion into Prince Albert schools.

2012

Tribal Council Coordinators and Sask Sport work together to develop specific outcomes for the Tribal Council Coordinator Program.

2012

Districts and Tribal Councils gather to discuss new ways to partner and support Indigenous youth and communities.

2012

Indigenous Employment Leadership Grant is provided to -- MEND -- Mind, Exercise, Nutrition... Do it! - and the File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council to increase nutrition and physical activity.

2012

Saskatchewan hosts first Aboriginal Coaching Manual workshop at the University of Regina.

2012

Mentorship Pilot Projects created within Indigenous Coaches and Officials Program and Sask Games Council.

2013

An increase to $400,000 given in

Indigenous Community Sport Grants, previously known as Aboriginal Community Sport Grant, for communities and programs across the province.

2013

2,800 children and youth

helped yearly by the Dream Brokers programs now in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, North Battleford and Yorkton.

2014

NAIG Regina 2014

Regina hosts the North American Indigenous Games with 5,000 participants in 15 sports. The Games added $12 million to the Regina economy and created 267 jobs in the province.

2014

District Measurement Framework created to increase and monitor Indigenous participation in sport, culture and recreation activities.

2014

General Participation Bilateral Funding Renewed

Sport Canada renews its commitment to Saskatchewan by signing a General Participation Bilateral Agreement for four years, which includes $1.2 million and matching funds provided by Sask Lotteries Trust Fund in partnership with the Province of Saskatchewan.

2014

$8.6 Million

Total direct and indirect funding to First Nations and Métis organizations and communities.

2010 TO 2014

2015

Truth & Reconciliation

The Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action contain five specific to sport (87-91). The Indigenous Sport Leadership Council of Sask Sport releases response in support of calls.

2016

Sask Sport Development Strategy

is renewed with more emphasis to support high-performance Indigenous participants and increase diversity and inclusion.

2016

Giving Us A Sporting Chance

The Story of Sask Sport history book is published by Lynn Gidluck. The book traces the history of the amateur sport system in the province and how programs have been created to respond to needs in communities.

2016

Sask Sport staff and Indigenous Sport Leadership Council participate in one-day workshop on the Truth & Reconciliation Calls to Action.

2016

The Aboriginal Coaching Module is relaunched by the Coaches Association of Canada with new content.

2016

Sask Sport presents on reconciliation at the Wichitowin Conference in Saskatoon.

2016

Tavia Laliberte is elected president of the Sask Sport Board of Directors.

2016

Jumpstart Afterschool Program

Indigenous Leadership Grant is provided to a hire coordinator for pilot Jumpstart Afterschool Program. The program is piloted in seven Saskatoon community schools. Give Kids a Chance Charity Inc. partners with Saskatoon Public and Catholic School Boards and local Canadian Tire owners to start the leadership-model driven program.

2016

The Indigenous Long-Term Participant Development Pathway resource is launched as a reference for those who work within sports and recreation. It outlines key elements that need to be considered when planning, developing and implementing programs for and with Indigenous peoples and communities.

2017

Craig McCallum shares his story

'Life, hockey and lessons learned' in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix. The former Midget AAA, Western Hockey League and University hockey player spoke of community, his love for the game and a dream for the future.

2017

An Active for Life resource and accompanying workshop launches to help community members and groups learn about how to support participants through the Long Term Athlete Development model and provincial sports organizations to make a more inclusive environment.

2017

The General Participation Bilateral is Enhanced

The General Participation Bilateral is enhanced to include Indigenous Bilateral support. Programs such as the North American Indigenous Games and Team Saskatchewan Development leading up to the games are targeted. These funds are matched by the Saskatchewan Lotteries Trust Fund in partnership with the Province of Saskatchewan,

2017

Participants travelling to attend NAIG in 2017 in Toronto are supported through the general partcipation provincial bilateral funding agreement and matching funds from Sask Lotteries Trust Fund.

2017

Brigette Lacquette

Sask Sport partners with the Truth and Reconciliation Committee in Saskatoon to feature Brigette Lacquette for the Speaker Series. She is the first Indigenous woman to compete in hockey for Canada at the Olympic Games.

2018

Sask Sport membership, key delivery partners and staff attend retreat to discuss diversity, equity and inclusion.

2018

The Aboriginal Sport Enhancement Program, now called Indigenous Sport Enhancement, moves to a three-year cycle to align with the time between games. This shift provides better continuity and development for Indigenous athletes.

2018

The delivery of the Aboriginal Coaching Module expands into the University of Saskatchewan's College of Kinesiology.

2018

Receiving recognition

Michael Linklater becomes the fourth Saskatchewan resident to win the National Aboriginal Sport Circle Tom Longboat Award after being named one of the top 3x3 basketball international players. In addition to his accomplishments on the court, Michael is a former Sask Sport employee who has become a role model, motivational speaker and the face of N7 Nike apparel. Linklater was also honoured by the Toronto Raptors in their "Celebrating Indigenous Athletes" campaign in 2023.

2018

A record 12,703

children and youth helped by KidSport to participate in sport across the province.

2019

Dream Brokers recognized

by the Honourable Gene Makowsky, Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport, during Introductions in the Legislative Assembly Spring Session.

2019

A celebration for the Dream Broker program with the Government of Saskatchewan, SaskCulture and the Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation Association was held at the Science Centre in Regina to acknowledge the valuable sport, culture and recreation impact that this program has had on youth since 2006. The event honoured the program’s many contributors and partnerships, including the Catholic and Public school boards, Community Initiatives Fund, the Regina intersectoral Partnership, and the Parkland Valley and Rivers West Districts for Sport, Culture and Recreation.

2019

FSIN announces the National Aboriginal Hockey Championship will be hosted in Regina in May 2020.

2019

Colette Bourgonje

10-time Paralympian Colette Bourgonje is named as an inductee into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Paralympic Hall of Fame. She is the first Canadian woman to compete in both the Summer and Winter Paralympic Games. In 2021, Colette was inducted in the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame for her decorated career in sport.

2019

Jumpstart Afterschool Program Expands

into Charles Red Hawk Elementary School of Whitecap Dakota First Nation. The program is built around a leadership model using high school and university students to deliver the program to help build and mould future community leaders.

2019

Approximately $10 million

in Annual Funding is provided for targeted sport, culture and recreation initiatives to increase Indigenous participation.

2018

Receiving recognition

Michael Linklater becomes the fourth Saskatchewan resident to win the National Aboriginal Sport Circle Tom Longboat Award after being named one of the top 3x3 basketball international players. In addition to his accomplishments on the court, Michael is a former Sask Sport employee who has become a role model, motivational speaker and the face of N7 Nike apparel. Linklater was also honoured by the Toronto Raptors in their "Celebrating Indigenous Athletes" campaign in 2023.

2015 TO 2019

2020

Overcoming COVID-19 barriers, Dream Brokers found an innovative way to continue offering and diversify programming for participants through activity kits. The kits were unique to each community and school that the Dream Brokers program serves. Photo – Activity Kit

2020

Apprentice Coaches

Cory Gratton (volleyball) and Mandy Herman (wrestling) are the newest Saskatchewan coaches to be selected for the Coaching Association of Canada’s Canada Games Aboriginal Apprentice Coaches Program. A partnership with provinces coaching representatives and sport bodies, as well as the Canada Games Council and the Aboriginal Sport Circle, the program provides the opportunity for each province and territory to send two coaches to the Canada Games in apprenticeship roles. Since 2009, 13 Saskatchewan coaches have been selected for the program across nine sports.

2020

KidSport Saskatchewan celebrates 25 years in the province helping keep kids healthy, grow self-confidence and becoming leaders for our communities. Since 1995, KidSport has helped 150,000 Saskatchewan kids participate in organized sport programs.

2020

Angella Pinay is elected president of the Sask Sport Board of Directors. After serving on the Board from 2011-14, she was nominated again by the Saskatchewan Soccer Association in 2018.

2020

1,024 NHL games played by Big River’s Jim Nielson – a four-time all-star who suited up for the New York Rangers, California Golden Seals and Cleveland Barons from 1962-78. Nielson was inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in 2018 and passed away in November 2020.

2021

Give Kids a Chance Charity Inc. (GKACCI) celebrated its 15th anniversary. GKACCI’s mission is to increase accessibility for disadvantaged children and youth residing in remote, northern, and inner-city communities in Saskatchewan by providing active lifestyle opportunities, nutritious food, and other basic supplies, as well as providing nutritious meals. The registered charity includes Kid Sport, Dream Brokers, the Northern Community and Schools Recreation Coordinator Program and the Jumpstart Afterschool Program. Until October 2016 it also included Creative Kids Saskatchewan.

2021

United We Curl

Greyden Yee Louison partnered with Goldline Curling to break barriers in the sport of curling and work towards creating a welcoming and inclusive environment for Indigenous peoples and People of Colour. The brooms were designed in correlation with the #UnitedWeCurl Initiative, representing Indigenous culture and Yee Louison individually.

2022

The Saskatoon Tribal Council partnered with Discover Saskatoon to lead a grand entry at the Canadian Olympic Curling Trials in February. As part of the ceremony, Tribal Chief Mark Arcand and Discover Saskatoon CEO Steph Clovechok presented each team with a star blanket as a gift and welcomed players and coaches to Treaty 6 Territory.

2022

Honouring a Great

A statue honouring the late Fred Sasakamoose, the first treaty Indigenous player in the NHL, is unveiled in Saskatoon. Sasakamoose passed away in November 2020 due to complications from COVID-19.

2022

15 years

The Indigenous Coaches and Officials Program, formerly known as the Aboriginal Coaches and Officials Program, marked 15 years facilitating training and development opportunities across Saskatchewan for Indigenous peoples to become more involved in sport as a coach or an official.

2022

“He’s the guy who put this all together. This is how we honour him.” — Korey Diehl on the return of the Tony Cote First Nations Games after a two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

2022 marked the Games’ first year without its namesake and founder. James Smith Cree Nation played host to the Tony Cote First Nations Summer Games in July and the Winter Games, which features traditional hand games, were held early April in Saskatoon.

2022

A historic first

Sydney Daniels of the Mistawasis Nêhiyawak First Nation was hired as the Winnipeg Jets’ college scout on Sept. 21, becoming the first Indigenous woman to work in the team’s hockey operations department.

2022

Tristan Spicer-Moran shares his experience as an Archery Canada athlete

The 2023 Santiago Pan American Games is his first international event and the chance to put his almost two decades of experience to the test.

2023

“We can’t have reconciliation without the truth.”

Sask Sport Participation in Sport Lead, Amy Shipley on the keynote address about Indigenous inclusion in sport and Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. Shipley uses her voice to discuss valuable topics that affect the sport community, more recently joining ‘The Waggle’ podcast to speak on the latest installment of the league’s Diversity Is Strength Conversations series.

2023

“Sport is more than just playing, its development on the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual level that will impact you for a lifetime,” said Brett Lachance, University of Saskatchewan athlete.

A historic relationship began at James Smith Cree Nation in June, as the community welcomed KidSport’s first local chapter on a First Nation in Canada. The chapter offers opportunities to youth and aims to remove barriers that previously limited sport participation.

2023

The North American Indigenous Games

The tenth edition of the North American Indigenous Games took place with 14 sports celebrated at 21 separate venues across Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Dartmouth, Millbrook First Nation and Sipeke’katik in Nova Scotia. Team Saskatchewan was crowned champions for the seventh time at the Games, tallying 175 medals, 51 of which were gold.

2023

Effective September 1, 2027

All coaches and assistant coaches will be required to compete the Aboriginal Coaching Module. The curriculum provides resources to expand awareness and to educate participants on Indigenous culture, values and lifestyles.

2023

“I’m trying to inspire the next generation of Indigenous soccer players, Indigenous athletes, especially from a small reserve here in Saskatchewan.”

Recipient of the Next Generation Indigenous Athlete Assistance Grant, Raymond Fox signed with the newly formed Nautsa’mawt FC in League1 BC, the highest level of soccer available in Canada. The league aspires to work with Indigenous communities to make social change through the recruitment of Indigenous athletes.

2023

Claire Dore, Rosetta Cyr and Mason Medynski promote the importance of sport in the province and advocate positive change in the community through their work as ambassadors with Sask Sport’s advocacy campaign, Sport. Its More Than A Game.

2023

Toronto Raptors celebrate Indigenous athletes

Mike Tanton was one of eight individuals honoured by the Toronto Raptors through a Toronto Transit Commission campaign, which highlighted his devotion to basketball and work as co-founder of One Love Basketball and the Living Skies Indigenous Basketball League. The Raptors wanted to celebrate contributions made by Indigenous athletes and take initiative regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Action 87.

2020 TO Present