Indigenous Lacrosse Team

Sport and Recreation Programming for Indigenous Communities

Ontario, in partnership with Indigenous organizations, is creating opportunities for Indigenous participants, athletes and coaches to achieve their personal best by:

  • Offering training for community members to lead sport and recreation activities
  • Increasing the availability of program opportunities
  • Engaging volunteers.

Working with Indigenous communities in sport and recreation is part of The Journey Together: Ontario’s commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.


Sport Pathway for Ontario Native Wellness

Through Game ON – The Ontario Government’s Sport Plan, Ontario supports initiatives that provide sport and recreation opportunities for Indigenous athletes. This includes developing and implementing the Sport Pathway for Ontario Native Wellness initiative in partnership with the Aboriginal Sport & Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO).

The Sport Pathway supports an integrated regional network of opportunities for urban, rural and remote Indigenous peoples to participate at recreational levels and advance to high performance competition.

The goals of the Sport Pathway initiative are to:

  • Reduce barriers for Indigenous people to participate in organized sport
  • Create opportunities for Indigenous athletes to train and compete within the Indigenous community to build skill and competition preparedness
  • Build on the existing mainstream sport and recreation system to involve and develop Indigenous participants, athletes and coaches to achieve their full potential.

Since 2014, the Sport Pathway has increased the pool of certified Indigenous coaches through development programs as well as enhanced capacity building and organizational development of ASWCO to deliver Indigenous programming.

In 2017, Ontario successfully held the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) for the first time, hosted by ASWCO. The Games provided Indigenous athletes, coaches and officials with the opportunity to participate in organized sport, develop their skills and pursue excellence in their sport.

From July 16 to 23, 5,000 athletes competed in 14 different sports across the Toronto and the Greater Hamilton area at some of the state of the art venues built for the 2015 Pan / Parapan American Games. The Games welcomed close to 32,000 out-of-town visitors and contributed over $18.7 million to the local economy. The Games also educated spectators on diverse Indigenous cultures and celebrated Indigenous heritage – just one of the many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation.

Ontario continues to build upon these successes by fostering existing partnerships to support expanded sport programming for all ages, developing a Far North Strategy and focusing on traditional Indigenous sports including canoeing, archery and lacrosse.


Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator Program

The Community Aboriginal Recreation Activator Program provides First Nation communities with community-driven sport, recreation, and physical activities to enhance the quality of life for community members.

Participating communities are provided with funding to hire an Activator. Each Activator creates a recreation plan to meet the needs in their local community, and facilitates and implements the plan, with the goal of enhancing the community’s participation in sport and recreation.

In 2016, approximately 21,000 participants attended programming in the following communities:

  • Alderville First Nation
  • Algonquins of Pikwakanagan
  • Aundeck Omni Kaning
  • Batchewana First Nation of Ojibways
  • Chippewas of Nawash
  • Chippewas of the Thames
  • Constance Lake First Nation
  • Curve Lake First Nation
  • Eabametoong First Nation (Fort Hope)
  • Asuabepeeschoseewagong Netum Anishinabek (Grassy Narrows) First Nation
  • Kingfisher Lake First Nation
  • Lac Seul First Nation
  • Long Lake #58 First Nation
  • Mississauga First Nation
  • Mitaanjigaming First Nation
  • Moose Cree First Nation
  • Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte
  • Nibinamik First Nation
  • Nipissing First Nation
  • Ojibways of Onigaming
  • Oneida of the Thames First Nation
  • Sachigo Lake First Nation
  • Saugeen First Nation
  • Sheshegawaning First Nation
  • Wasauksing First Nation
  • Webequie First Nation

These communities also receive ongoing support and mentorship from staff from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport to support capacity building.


Youth Cultural Camps

An initiative of The Journey Together: Ontario’s commitment to Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, the Youth Cultural Camps initiative provides community-based cultural programming opportunities for Indigenous youth to expand understanding of traditional knowledge and languages, while developing leadership skills through hands-on activities.

The program is targeted to Indigenous teens (ages 15-18) and young adults (ages 19-24) and helps youth lead cultural events in their communities on their way to becoming community leaders.

Ontario is investing $4.5 million over two years to partners with 10 Indigenous organizations to provide more than 12 leadership-in-training camps and over 40 community camps through the Youth Cultural Camp initiative.

Youth Cultural Camp funding assists Indigenous organizations in administering and coordinating youth cultural camps in their member communities, enabling youth to connect to their culture and the people in their community.