A new USask partnership aims to raise awareness of the stories of Indigenous athletes throughout the province of Saskatchewan. (Photo: David Stobbe)

USask College of Kinesiology showcases Indigenous athletes

The College of Kinesiology, in partnership with the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, is honouring some of Saskatchewan’s most influential Indigenous athletes in a stunning new collection in the Physical Activity Complex (PAC) at the University of Saskatchewan.

On Nov. 23, 2018, the College of Kinesiology unveiled a new display featuring a digital kiosk and display case housing artifacts honouring Indigenous athlete success in Saskatchewan.

The display is the result of a partnership with the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame for the College of Kinesiology to become a satellite site to house personal biographies, photos, videos and artifacts of nine Indigenous athletes that have been inducted into the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame.

“The College of Kinesiology has been looking to make our facilities more welcoming and to appropriately reflect our place on Treaty 6 territory and the homeland of the Métis,” said College of Kinesiology Dean Chad London. “I initiated a conversation with Sheila Kelly, CEO of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, about possible collaboration and it became clear that we had a shared goal to promote Indigenous athletes as a way to honourtheir success and inspire future generations.”

The partnership will raise awareness of the stories of Indigenous athletes throughout the province of Saskatchewan. This project is a direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, No. 87: We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.

“It honours outstanding Saskatchewan sport talent and contributes in a meaningful way to the commitment of the College of Kinesiology and the University of Saskatchewan to become part of the reconciliation process,” said London.

Dean Chad London and Don Gallo, Board Member of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame unveil the display case. (Photo: David Stobbe)

There will be nine Indigenous athletes featured in the display, with plans to continuously update the content to feature the success of other Indigenous athletes from our province.

The first nine honourees are:

  • Fred Sasakamoose (the first Indigenous player to play in the National Hockey League)
  • Jacqueline Lavallee (former Huskie women’s basketball player and national team member)
  • Bryan Trottier (six-time Stanley Cup champion and Hockey Hall of Fame member)
  • Claude Petit (four-time Edmonton Golden Gloves winner and Order of Canada’98)
  • Paul Acoose (defeated the celebrated runner Tom Longboat in a 12 mile race in Toronto)
  • Tony Cote (instrumental in the organization of the inaugural Saskatchewan First Nations Summer Games (SFNSG))
  • Jim Neilson (1023 regular season NHL games to his name, tallying 69 goals and 299 assists, and earning the NHL’s Milestone Award for playing in 1000 regular season games)
  • Alexander Decoteau (won the 1910 Fort Saskatchewan ten-mile race and competed in the 1912 Stockholm Olympic Games)
  • David Greyeyes (outstanding soccer player, was member of the Canadian Team that won the Overseas Army Championship)

These honourees are the only nine individual Indigenous athletes currently inducted into the Saskatchewan Hall of Fame. This display is designed to encourage future generations of Indigenous athletes to pursue their goals.

“As youth enter the PAC and see these displays, they will be inspired to reach for their dreams and one day become Hall of Fame inductees and future Huskies themselves,” said London. “We have many other Indigenous athletes with successful resumes who have retired or are still currently playing. Our hopes are to keep the content fresh and showcase them as well.”

The display is housed on the 2nd floor in the PAC, home to the College of Kinesiology and Huskie Athletics. The PAC entertains thousands of visitors each year, making it the perfect home for the display.

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