Alyssa Reyes’ MA Thesis Proposal

Title: “A Study Exploring Indigenous Women Athletes’ Experiences With Physical Activity & Sport”

Supervisor: Dr. Moss Norman
Committee Members: Dr. Dorothy Nason, Dr. Andrea Bundon

Abstract: This research project proposes to explore how Indigenous women athletes experience physical activity and sport. Five of the ninety-four Calls to Action that have come out of the Final Report of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission (2015) are directly related to sport and physical activity. This means that sport and physical activity are positioned as important to processes of reconciliation in Canada. Indigenous participation and achievement in sport and physical activity has largely been ignored in Canadian history and excluded from historical narrative as a result of colonialism and cultural erasure (Hall, 2013). Indigenous women, in particular, lie at an intersection that results in distinctly different experiences due to colonial impacts on gender and Indigenous communities. This proposed community-based participatory research study, in partnership with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Circle (ISPARC), will conduct virtual focus groups with Indigenous women athletes (17-19 years) who reside in rural or remote areas and are part of Team BC for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG). This study will be guided by the following research questions: What are the experiences of young Indigenous women engaged in high performance mainstream sport generally, and Indigenous sport more specifically? What do young Indigenous women want/need in terms of their current and future experiences in sport and physical activity? This study is significant as it fills a gap in the existing scholarly literature on Indigenous women’s experiences in high performance sport. Moreover, this study also has possible applied significance as it has the potential to inform culturally-relevant sport and recreation programming for Indigenous girls and women.