Dr. Moss Norman’s Research Group

Our group takes a community-based, social justice approach to sport and physical culture. Primarily using the qualitative tradition, we research issues related to health, embodiment, place, gender and Indigenity.

Left to right: Moss, Heather, Leanne


Fisher River project site

Fisher River Cree Nation Project

An Intergenerational Examination of Indigenous Physical Cultures and Masculinities (aka, Indigenous Wellbeing of Boys and Men)

This project uses physical culture (i.e., sport, physical activity, and human movement) as a lens for examining place-specific Indigenous masculinities within Fisher River Cree Nation. Physical activity and exercise are often narrowly conceptualized in terms of their mental and physical health benefits. However, this project shows that the resurgence of place-specific Indigenous physical cultural practices has the potential to decolonize Indigenous identities, foster inter-generational mentoring relations, revitalize Cree values, roles and responsibilities, all of which nurture holistic Cree ways of living well. Working in close collaboration with the community, this project was organized around repeating cycles of knowledge gathering and community sharing. Methods used in this study include sharing circles, intergenerational interviews, a community feast and a community cultural heritage camp. In collaboration with Fisher River Cree Nation and Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre (MFNERC), we are currently working on a book that features Elders’ stories of local physical cultural practices. This project was funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).


Moss Norman

Moss Norman

Research Interests:
I am white settler scholar of European heritage. I use a socio-cultural approach to the study the intersection between physical culture, youth and gender. I also study body shape and size and its relationship to health using a critical fatness studies lens. Recently, my research has focused on the relationship between Indigenous masculinity and physical culture, with a focus on the place-specific context of Fisher River Cree Nation (Manitoba).

Brittany Epple

Brittany Epple

Program: Master of Arts (Kinesiology)

I am Mohawk from the Mohawk Nation of Akwesasne. I have been working on the project since June 2017. My primary role is examining the stories told in the sharing circles and identifying common themes across them. I am assisting in the preparation of a book that will feature the stories of Elders. This book will be published in partnership with Fisher River Cree Nation, the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, and university researchers. The book will be widely distributed in the community.

Research Interests:
Currently, I am conducting research for my Master’s thesis about the emotional experience of concussions with varsity athletes at UBC. The purpose of the project is to further understand how they cope with the emotional aspects of concussions, as well as explore any gender similarities or differences in this process.

Michael Hart

Michael Hart

I am a citizen of Fisher River Cree Nation and I am a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Knowledge in Social Work at the University of Manitoba. I have published widely in the area of Indigenous methodologies and Indigenous approaches to healing and social work. In June of 2018 I will become the Vice Provost of Indigenous Engagement at the University of Calgary.

LeAnne Petherick

LeAnne Petherick

I am a white settler scholar in the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia. I have expertise in physical cultural pedagogies for children and youth. I use feminist theory, critical race studies, and increasingly Critical Indigenous Studies to inform my examination of Health and Physical Education curricula and praxis. More recently, my work has also advocated for more culturally responsive pedagogical practices in health and physical activity curriculum and programming for Indigenous children and youth.

heather mcrae

Heather McRae

I am a Metis scholar and the Community Scholar for Indigenous Achievement at the University of Manitoba. My research focuses on creating culturally relevant physical activity and leadership opportunities for urban and rural Indigenous youth. I am actively involved in Indigenous achievement both in the community (e.g., Traditional Aboriginal Games Workshops) and on the university campus (e.g., Pow Wow Club), and I sit on numerous committees, including as the Chair for the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management’s Working Group on Indigenous Achievement and on the Gaa wii ji’i diyaang [walking together, helping each other] group.

cynthia sinclair

Cynthia Sinclair

Cynthia Sinclair is a member of Fisher River Cree Nation and she has worked on the Indigenous Wellbeing of Boys and Men project since November of 2016. Cynthia is the Community Research Coordinator and in this capacity she organizes all research-related activities in the community, including recruiting participants, scheduling interviews, managing data, and communicating with university researchers and community partners. Cynthia has an undergraduate degree from the University of Manitoba with plans to further her education and works at Ochekwi-Sipi Personal Care Home.

bret watts

Bret Watts

Bret is a member of the Tseshaht First Nation and a second year student in the School of Kinesiology at the University of British Columbia. As part of the research team, Bret has transcribed sharing circles and intergenerational interviews, participated in team meetings, and contributed to the data analysis process. Bret has also been involved in writing proposals for future funding related to Indigenous masculinities and physical cultures.


Dr. Moss Norman’s publications can be viewed on Google Scholar.


To discuss opportunities please contact Dr. Norman at moss.norman@ubc.ca. For details on the School of Kinesiology’s graduate programs and how to apply please see here.

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