With the inspiration of the Olympics this summer and the recent Alberta Indigenous Games (AIG) held in Edmonton, this month's CONNECTIONS focuses on sports and the Indigenous cultural connection.

If you are a caregiver of a child that is passionate about sports or interested in getting involved in sports, here are some great Indigenous cultural sports related resources. Even if the kids aren't interested in participating in a sports activity, spending time with them learning about the history of Indigenous, Metis and Inuit sports and the important connection to culture is still a great opportunity to learn new things together!
Did you know?
Adolescents who play sports are eight times as likely to be active at age 24 as adolescents who do not play sports! Learn more at Project Play
SPORT and indigenous children and youth
Indigenous children and youth are the most vulnerable members of Canadian society, impacted by multiple challenging social determinants of health which result in them being over-represented in foster care, at higher risk for suicide, addiction and domestic violence. According to Mason et al (2018) youth who partake in sports and recreation reduces the risk of addictive behaviors, and improves children and youth’s mental health... Learn more about why sports is so important to Indigenous children and youth
In the 1700s, Mohawk men near present-day Montreal were the first to play tewaarathon, a ball-and-net stick game that was given to them by the Creator and taken from them by Canadian settlers but Indigenous people in Canada are reclaiming LACROSSE Indigenous communities now see potential for the sport to help prevent depression, obesity and diabetes, and to offer youth a shot at scholarships to college and university.
Video - Spirit of the Stick From stories about the first game played among the animals to the ongoing practice of holding medicine games to heal the sick, lacrosse is much more than a game to the Native Americans
Check out these great videos!

Video - So Your Kid Wants to Play Lacrosse | Ep.1 What is Lacrosse? and learn more about Indigenous Lacrosse history, what Lacrosse is and the deep cultural connection to the game and the equipment used to play it.

Video - Ancient Lacrosse - Four Warriors Demonstration of the Creator's Game

For more info on where to join lacrosse google your local association or team or contact your school P.E. teacher for help finding a team near you.
Learn Archery and So Much More! Painted Warriors Ranch (Calgary Area - Near Sundre)
Whether it’s your first time or you are looking to deepen your archery skills, they offer a unique experience to learn archery through an Indigenous perspective and what hunting with bow and arrow meant to Indigenous people.Painted Warriors Ranch offers a variety of outdoor adventures rooted in Indigenous ways of knowing, learning and experiencing wilderness. Owners Tracey Klettl and Tim Mearns have been reconnecting their guests with the land and sharing their Ojibway, Cree and Mohawk heritage since 2010. Try your hand at animal tracking, snowshoeing, horseback riding or archery.
Before it was a sport, archery was a way of life for many Indigenous people. A tool that secured food and a form of protection, the bow and arrow encompassed traditions deeply routed in Indigenous culture from what they were made of, to how they were made and what they were made for. Now Indigenous athletes are hitting their mark at all levels of Archery Competitions.

Learn more about the The Nakoda archer from Cochrane, Alta Collins was born in Calgary in 2002 and was diagnosed with fetal-alcohol syndrome. When he was 10 days old, Jayena and Wayde Collins of Cochrane took him in, making him one of more than 100 foster children the couple (along with Jayena’s parents) have cared for over the past four decades. Collin won a silver medal in his age group at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games and has been on the podium in almost every archery competition he has participated in.
Have some fun and get involved as volunteers, competitors, spectators, performers or on-line followers.
The Arctic Winter Games January 29 to February 4, 2023. Watch Video Finger Pulling and Kick the Seal - Welcome to the Arctic Games! On this episode of "A Broad Abroad" Paula tries out some of the Arctic Games inspired by Inuit Culture. She's got a mean finger pull!
If you have an Indigenous youngster in your home that is enthusiastic about sports or you are an Indigenous youth with a passion or interest in sports & traditional games you'll want to learn more about how to get involved in the Indigenous Games!

Alberta Indigenous Games (AIG). These games were just held August 12-19, 2021 in Edmonton so that means there's lots of time to get ready for 2022! Indigenous Albertan youth engaged in one week of competitive team sports, traditional games, special events, education, and cultural connection.
The Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta (ISCA) is the provincial sporting body for Indigenous people of all ages. ISCA works hard to break down barriers for Indigenous individuals, families and communities of all ages to participate in sport, physical activity and recreation

The Indigenous Sport Council of Alberta (ISCA) and KidSport Alberta announce a new partnership designed to get more Indigenous children playing sport. 
Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame announced the Indigenous Sport Heroes Experience. This digital multimedia exhibit, designed like chapters in a book, features the stories of the 14 Indigenous Hall of Famers and will educate and inspire Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth across Canada by bringing awareness to the truths and experiences of these incredible Indigenous heroes. As of August 9, 2021 this resource will be available at no cost to all Canadians!!
Northern Lights" is a beautiful tale that explores the mystical aspects of the northern lights in Inuit culture. They believe the souls of the dead are engaging in a lively game of soccer, just as they did when they were living. They run all over the sky chasing a walrus head that they use for a soccer ball
Trellis Orange Shirt Day Celebrations September 29-30, 2021
Don't miss these opportunities to support and learn through Trellis online and interactive cultural events!
One - Ni't - Aeñ Family Practices and Oral Learning: A family night for all ages
September 29, 2021 6:00 – 7:15 pm 
Two – Náátsi - Deu Expanding Our Relations: Oral concepts of understanding
September 30, 2021 1:00 – 3:00 pm 
Three – Nioókska - Trwá Purchase an Orange Shirt Day T-Shirt
and Support Indigenous Initiatives at Trellis today! With every t-shirt purchased, you are supporting local, and national Indigenous initiatives! 100% of proceeds go into supporting Indigenous work and Indigenous youth programs at Trellis.
CONNECTIONS is here to provide cultural resources and activities to those who are caregivers of Indigenous, Metis & Inuit children and youth and we hope the kids and teens enjoy it as well! Some of you will be less familiar with cultural teachings than others, but there's always something new to learn and what better way to experience it then by sharing time learning together with the kids you care for! You don't have be a formal caregiver or individual in care; anyone of any age who wants to learn more about cultural awareness will benefit from these great resources. If you are a supervisor or service provider offering kinship/foster/group care, don't forget to remind the caregivers that CONNECTIONS is here to assist them in their efforts to ensure Indigenous, Metis & Inuit children and youth are learning about their traditions and culture while in care.