National Indigenous Peoples Day
This year, the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples comes only a few weeks after the tragic discovery of 215 bodies in a mass grave at the site of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. No words could adequately capture the scope of that horror, nor could words alone provide comfort to the victims of a system that tore children from their parents and left entire generations in suffering.
When the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was formed in June 2008, there was real hope that the government would finally take responsibility for a history of exploitation and genocide of Indigenous peoples. While there were positive steps taken, the dissolution of the commission in December 2015 left a vacuum of accountability for our collective past, and a continued lack of action for a path moving forward.
Our organization has long recognized our gap in programming and support for Indigenous communities. Over the past few months, we have taken steps to address this and are optimistic for the future. But the issue at hand is bigger than a program, it is the need and absence of a sincere and tangible commitment to relationships, understanding and collaboration with Indigenous communities.
Sport holds so much power to bring people together, to build fellowship and to create shared experiences. Through sport, we can also recognize and appreciate diversity, history and uniqueness. While powers greater than organizations like ours must step up, we are nevertheless committed to doing our part through our means to improve who we are. In sports, athletes are called upon to better themselves. The drive, to improve, to be better than you were the day before, is a hallmark of athletic spirit.
We must apply that to how we operate as an organization, and how we engage all communities each and every day. ‘Citius, altius, fortius’ is not just a call to competition, but a metaphor for the human spirit and the collective obligation we should have to each other.
President, Dodgeball Canada