Indigenous Symposium: Advancing Human Rights Through Sport
Royal Roads is hosting an afternoon symposium to identify the people, events and milestone that have shaped human rights through sport with respect to Indigenous people.
The symposium is part of a larger project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) led by Assoc. Prof. Angela Schneider, primary investigator from Western University’s School of Kinesiology. The event is organized in cooperation with Asma-na-hi Antoine, Royal Roads Manager of Indigenous Education and Student Services and Royal Roads School of Communication and Culture Prof. Jennifer Walinga.
The symposium will take place at the Sneq’wa e’lun (Blue Heron House) at Royal Roads University, 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Friday, May 11. It is free and open to the public and will also be streamed live via bluejeans.
Alex Nelson is a member of the Musgamagwx Dzawada’enuwx First Nations in Kingcome Inlet and a survivor of St. Michaels Residential School in Alert Bay. Nelson is past executive director of the Victoria Native Friendship Centre; a founder of the Aboriginal Sports & Recreation Association of BC and the National Aboriginal Sports Circle; the first chair and three-time president of the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Council; Aboriginal Team BC Chef de Mission for the 1993 and 1995 North American Indigenous Games; board member of the Native Participation Committee for the 1994 Commonwealth Games and member of the Minister's Sport & Recreation Advisory Council of BC.
Montanna Howe, of Métis heritage, is a grade five teacher at St. George's Junior School in Vancouver who has coached a variety of age groups in both basketball and track. Howe’s passion for coaching basketball stems from five years of playing for the University of British Columbia. Howe has coached the U14 Girls’ Basketball team in the 2017 North American Indigenous Games, the 2018 U17 Vancouver Indigenous Girls’ team called Vancity Reign for the Junior All Native Basketball Tournament. Howe is a member of the All My Relations Indigenous Women's Basketball team who represented Vancouver in the 2017 World Indigenous Games at the University of British Columbia.
Dano Thorne’s dedication to all levels of sport as an elite athlete, coach and sport leader has provided him a thorough understanding of the Indigenous, Canadian, North American and International sport systems. Thorne works as a sport development facilitator and a recreation coordinator for Cowichan Tribes. He is enrolled in the Canadian Sport Centre for the Advanced Coaching Diploma and plans to design holistic development programs for youth and elite Indigenous athletes and coaches.
Born in Williams Lake, Lise Guillies is of Cree/ Métis and Swedish/Scottish heritage. She spent the past nine years working for the Surrey School District in Aboriginal Child & Youth Care and Special Education. She is also an Honour Your Health Challenge leader. Before joining the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council staff, Guillies accompanied Team BC’s U16 volleyball team as a volunteer chaperone to the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto and supported them on their journey to a silver medal. Guillies has also played in various billiards leagues on the Island and the Lower Mainland and proudly took home the Most Sportsmanlike Player in the 2015 provincials.
Originally from Samoa, Mua Va’a has lived in Canada since 1991. He is married to an Indigenous woman and is the proud father of three children. Va’a has worked primarily with Youth With a Mission, a non-profit organization focused on Indigenous communities on Vancouver Island, and now works as a youth coordinator for a local First Nations community. This has allowed him to connect with many youth in public schools, as well as in First Nations communities across the Saanich Peninsula. Va’a sits on the Board of Directors for the Pacific Peoples Partnership and is highly involved in many areas of South Pacific and Indigenous life. He is active in the local Pacific Islander community, specifically with community gatherings, Pearls of the South Pacific dance group and rugby.
Joleen Mitton was born in East Vancouver and is of Plains Cree Blackfoot heritage. She began modeling at age 15 when a Vancouver talent scout pulled her out of a crowd of people at the PNE, and now has a successful career with a large portfolio from across the world. Mitton has passion for sport, art, fashion and design, and social justice, and has succeeded in raising awareness for the local Indigenous fashion and basketball community by hosting tournaments and producing fashion shows in Vancouver. She recognizes art and sport have a massive power in transforming and connecting people to their communities. Mitton works with the Aboriginal Urban Butterflies Day Camp program for children in foster care, and the Mentor Me program for Indigenous girls aging out of foster care. She manages and plays on the All My Relations Women's Basketball team.
Richelle Williams is Salish of Songhees Nation and a member of Cowichan Tribes, and a GEN7 Messenger (National Indigenous Role Model) at Motivate Canada. She was born into a family of strong athletic women. Her story is one of determination, perseverance, mental fitness and dreaming big. Living in distinct purpose following traditional Salish matriarchal lineage and her chosen path as an elite multi-sport athlete, Williams was given vision, fortitude, pride in the strength of her bloodline, connection to the land and the ability to chase her biggest life dreams with relentless pursuit. Williams believes in the power of sport and fitness to heal as a form of medicine. She receives her position as a public figure and champion for positive change as a call to action initiating conversations around our collective future, personal growth, peak performance, and that opening opportunities to all is a moral and societal responsibility; that every child deserves a decent shot at life meeting their cultural, health, academic and life skill demands.
Dr. Angela Schneider is the primary investigator for a SSHRC-funded project on advancing human rights through sport. Schneider is a professor in the School of Kinesiology at Western University in London, Ontario. She has authored publications on sport ethics, Olympic studies, doping in sport and gender and sport. As a former director of ethics and education for the World Anti-Doping Agency and a former Olympic silver medalist, Schneider brings a unique perspective and first-hand knowledge as an academic researching in the area.
Taylor McKee is a research assistant working with Dr. Schneider on a SSHRC-funded project on advancing human rights through sport. McKee is a PhD candidate and instructor at Western University under the supervision of Dr. Janice Forsyth, Director of First Nations Studies. He is researching the interplay between violence, masculinity, media and Canadian sport. Prior to beginning his PhD studies at Western, McKee studied history at the University of Calgary (BA hons). For his University of Victoria MA project he studied media reception to violence in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries on Canada’s west coast, and also worked with Dr. Christine O'Bonsawin (Abenaki). McKee has published in peer-reviewed publications on Olympic history, Canadian hockey history and violence in sport.