This SaskSport program is intended to address identified needs and fill gaps that exist for Aboriginal communities in Saskatchewan. The main page includes information about the multi-year strategic plan, the Sport Enhancement Program, community grants, the SIMTAG poster series, and the Aboriginal Sports Leadership Council. This is both a symptom of current issues in the social structure of the province’s people and an example of an initiative intended to reconcile the compounded discrepancies. Additional links are provided to Aboriginal coach training and general SaskSport information.
Macdonald, N. (2016, July 30). Saskatchewan: A special report on race and power. Retrieved October 12, 2017, from http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan-a-special-report-on-race-and-power/
This article published by Maclean’s magazine in January 2015 explores the dynamics involved in leadership positions throughout Saskatchewan. As a province with significant First Nations and Metis populations, the statistics shared in the article show that this raw composition is not proportionately realized in leadership roles. The balance of written text and graphical organizations helps to highlight the most significant pieces of the research while also providing sufficient explanation and contextualization. This resource is especially useful for exploring the realities facing Aboriginal peoples in Saskatchewan as they work to gain more representation and strengthen their communities. Beneath the article, links to related stories point to additional currently relevant issues and events involving and affecting Aboriginal Canadians.
A brief, but interesting article written by Nancy MacDonald for MacLean’s Magazine, about the challenges being faced by Bellegarde in balancing the many interests at stake in his role as leader of the Assembly of First Nations. What stood out for me was the mention of how social media has shifted the balance of power. With social media’s capacity to raise collective voices, the article highlights the fact that the voices of First Nations groups are often fragmented, and the notion of a unified indigenous voice is one that is hard to come by.
Best Practices in Aboriginal Community Development: A Literature Review and Wise Practices Approach is a report developed in 2010 by Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux and Brian Calliou with the aim of providing newly-elected or appointed Aboriginal leaders with an overview of best practices for community building, management, administration, and governance. The report highlights how, in recent times, Aboriginal leaders are experiencing increasing authority and responsibility as both federal and provincial governments make jurisdictional space for Aboriginal self-governance. The report offers some interesting insights on Aboriginal leadership development and capacity building, and emphasizes their critical necessity for true self-government and economic viability.
The videos also made me wonder what types of organizations are available to provide programing and positive environments for Aboriginal youth.
AYO! is a youth volunteer group that provides relationships with local businesses, organizations, and media. They are looking to provide opportunities for aboriginal youth.
The Canada World Youth has leadership programs for all youth, but they also have a specific section for Aboriginal youth. It follows their leadership principles but is also focused on Aboriginal culture and knowledge.
The NFB has an Aboriginal Perspectives section which has a youth section. In this section is a number of different organizations for Aboriginal youth.
The video “Fraser River Journey” touched on the importance of giving youths the opportunities to be able to understand who they are so that they could be stronger and become leaders in their community. The Aboriginal Leadership Programs, created by the Me to We, aim to do just that.
Their first program is a 3-day workshop that focuses on educating and motivating First Nations, Metis and Inuit youths to become leaders in their own communities by teaching them leadership skills and highlighting their personal and cultural identity with the help of elders and mentors.
The second program focuses more on the history and cultural traditions of Aboriginal peoples in Canada. This is also a 3-day workshop in which youths have the opportunity to collaboratively create action plans to promote awareness and support for cultural diversity.
What I liked about these programs is that they are designed to fit the needs of the youths and include members of their communities. Teaching them these skills, using methods that they can relate to (the Seven Teachings and the Medicine Wheel), will open opportunities for them to be part of the solutions and make positive changes within and outside of their communities.