Heather McRae -SRG 2009
In Canada, Aboriginal sport leaders have argued that sport is a basic human need and that more attention and resources are required to build a strong grassroots base for sport in Aboriginal communities (Maskwachees Declaration, 2000). However, there is an absence of scholarly literature that addresses the design of culturally relevant sport programs in Aboriginal communities (Forsyth, Heine & Halas, 2007). Researchers investigating sport-for-development programs have stated that such programs require carefully designed program structures (Sugden, 2006) and considerable facilitation skills, especially for outsiders to local issues (p. 288).
Yet, research gaps exist regarding a) “...how sport may be adapted to achieve positive outcomes in different contexts, and for different populations and individuals” (Sport for Development and Peace International Working Group, 2007, p. 4) and, b) leadership training for volunteer leaders (p. 5).
My study will examine sport education as a key factor in the design and development culturally relevant sport programs for urban Aboriginal youth in Manitoba. Building on the research of Forsyth et al. (2007) regarding the need for culturally relevant physical education for Aboriginal youth in schools, my research theorizes a positive relationship between culturally relevant sport programs and sport educators, and the participation and engagement of urban Aboriginal youth.
Specifically, this project addresses the following research questions: To what extent are community sport programs designed to be culturally relevant for urban Aboriginal youth? What is the significance of sport education (e.g., leadership training and experiential learning) in community sport programs identified as culturally relevant? What sport education processes and mechanisms enable sport educators (e.g., volunteers/coaches/staff) to develop culturally relevant sport practices?
The intended start date for my qualitative research study is January 2010