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Maskwachees Declaration – What has changed in the Communities since Newsletter Signup | Read Our Newsletter  

In June 2000 a federal— Provincial Territorial Advisory Committee on Fitness and Recreation held a Roundtable meeting in Hobbema Alberta. The Indigenous Sport Council (Alberta) is interested in your comments as to whether or not conditions have changed in the communities since 2000.


We, the delegates of the National Recreation Roundtable on Aboriginal/ Indigenous Peoples, held in Hobbema, Alberta, (Maskwachees) in February 2000, are deeply committed to improving the health, wellness, cultural survival and quality of life of Aboriginal/Indigenous Peoples, through physical activity, physical education, sport and recreation.

We affirm that the holistic concepts of Aboriginal cultures, given by the Creator and taught by the Elders, promote balance through the integration of the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual growth of the individual.

We recognize that many social issues including poverty; health concerns such as type II diabetes, heart disease, and fetal alcohol syndrome; rates of incarceration; substance abuse; harassment and racism; and a sedentary lifestyle have contributed to poor health and a low quality of life for many Aboriginal/Indigenous People.

We recognize Canada's endorsement of Article 3 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the recommendations from the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples dealing with recreation, sport and active living.

Strengths and Challenges:

We are supported by these strengths...

  • A willingness to respect partners and to work together with a readiness to learn and lend;
  • A commitment by the Federal/ Provincial/Territorial governments to reduce inactivity among Canadians by 10% by 2003;
  • A growing number of effective programs, policies and practices;
    Infrastructure development in the sport and recreation sector;
  • A physically active Aboriginal/ Indigenous traditional lifestyle; and
    International documents/ statements that recognize the importance of physical activity, physical education, sport and recreation.

We are challenged by:

  • The fact that Aboriginal youth are the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population;
  • The need to support, invite, integrate and use the knowledge of Elders in program design and delivery;
  • The lack of priority in allocation of adequate financial and human resources for recreation and sport;
  • The complexity of the infrastructure independent rather than interdependent;
  • The need to enhance communication and accountability between Aboriginal and non-
  • Aboriginal sport and recreation organizations and governments;
  • The need for quality community based programs and services and the creation and renewal of sport and recreation facilities;
  • A learned attitude of helplessness and "who cares?" held by many;
  • The lack of clear initiatives for capacity building at the community level;
  • The need for more leaders and positive role models;
  • The need to recognize success and celebrate participation;
  • The need to ensure quality physical education in schools;
  • The need to ensure recreation and sport are positive experiences; and
  • The need to create, pursue and implement system-wide change that will result in more flexible, creative, and responsive policies and practices.


  • Traditional Lifestyles and Active Living, including physical education, physical activity, sport, recreation and related cultural activity:
  • Offer preventive strategies that are much more powerful and cost effective than reactive treatment strategies;
  • Provide personal development for success in life: for example, mutual respect, honesty, teamwork, healthy work ethic, dealing with conflict, fair play, self-esteem, pride and confidence;
  • Provide inclusive opportunities for all ages and cultures to interact and to develop respect for each other;
  • Provide inclusive opportunities for leadership development and role modeling;
  • Provide opportunities for positive relationships and partnership building;
  • Increase activity levels across the life span to improve quality of life, enhance mental health, and help reduce the incidence of osteoporosis, some types of cancer, and conditions such as heart disease, type II diabetes and obesity.

You can forward your comments either to Ted Hodgson, Executive Director, ISCA at iscaexec@telus.net or Wayne Page, Newsletter Editor at

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