The Aboriginal Sport Circle (ASC) is Canada’s national voice for Aboriginal sport, which brings together the interests of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples.
Established in 1995, the ASC was created through a national consensus-building process, in response to the need for more accessible and equitable sport and recreation opportunities for Aboriginal peoples. This mandate has expanded to include physical activity.
The ASC is a collective of Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Bodies. Each of them carries the mandate to represent the grassroots sport and recreation interests of the Aboriginal peoples of their regions. It is their voice that guides the direction of the ASC and establishes its national priorities. The ASC partners with mainstream sport organizations to bring expertise in athlete and coaching development to the Aboriginal Communities.
The following timeline provides an overview of the history of sport in Canada and the Aboriginal People:
1951 Tom Longboat Award established.
1951 Indian Act residential schools were to follow provincial curricula and include programs of physical education and extra-curricular involvement in sports.
1961 Fitness and Amateur Sport Act comes into force with a commitment to “encourage, promote and develop fitness and amateur sport in Canada”.
1990 First ever North American Indigenous Games – Edmonton Alberta.
1990 The Dubin Commission Report published. He recommends providing financial support to encourage certain groups, for example, “women, the disabled and the disadvantaged”.
1992 Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples was established in 1992 to address many issues of Aboriginal Status. Final report was published in 1996.
1995 Creation of the ASC through a national consensus building process. Eighteen Board of Directors were elected from the PTASB plus 2 Elders.
1997 House of Commons Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage creates sub-committee for the Study of Sport in Canada. One of the studies was to determine the “contribution of sport to the cultural sphere and finding evidence of sports impact on national unity”.
1999 Basketball High Performance Camps.
2001 Volleyball High Performance Camps.
2001 Hockey High Performance Camps. 2002 National Aboriginal Hockey Championships: Male and Female categories are offered.
2002 F-P/T Ministers Responsible for Sport, Recreation and Fitness start the process to develop support for Aboriginal Sport in Canada. Representatives from Canadian Heritage, Sport Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs, Aboriginal Affairs, Justice Canada, Health Canada and the Aboriginal Sport Circle and academe participate in the process.
2005 Sport Canada’s Policy on Aboriginal Peoples’ Participation in Sport is released and is used as a guide for Sport Canada when working with other governments and sport organizations to tackle inequities that limited Aboriginal people accessing sport. The policy has since been revoked due to lack of action plan, transparency, and accountability in the implementation.
2005 National Aboriginal Leadership Program: Coaches & Mentorship.
2006 National Aboriginal Coaching Awards.
2010 Loss of Sport Canada funding due to significant financial and leadership challenges.
2010 Elimination of the mandatory Aboriginal project within F-P/TSC bilateral agreements.
2010 PTASBs pick up ASC programs such as NAHC, in the absence of ASC.
2010 NAIG Council continues to operate.
2013 Funds returned to Sport Canada
2014 ASC Bylaws are updated to comply with the Not-For-Profit Corporations Act. Board reduced to 8 members and a skills matrix is added for new Board members.
2015 Framework for Recreation in Canada 2015: Pathways to Wellbeing released.
2015 Provinces/Territories have primary authority for Recreation except on First Nations reserves.
2015 Outreach and inclusion of governing bodies and leaders in Aboriginal communities is required.
2015 ASC members gather to create a new Strategic Plan and attempt to reinstate funding from Sport Canada. Funding denied in 2015.
2015 Release of the Truth and Reconciliation Report containing five Calls to Action pertaining to Aboriginal sport, physical activity, and recreation.
Funding reinstated under a ministerial grant of $250,000 to undertake the following activities:
- Hire Executive Director and NAIG Coordinator
- Set up Office Subsidize S4L resource implementation & development
- Board meeting subsidy
- Governance Coach to guide org development, policies and procedures
2016 Invited back to the FPTSC Ministers’ table and a commitment is made to participate in the 2017 Ministers’ meeting.
2016 F- P/T survey conducted with objective to identify priorities to enhance Aboriginal sport, physical activity, and recreation development in Canada.
2017 Survey results released.