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Title: The relocation experiences of aboriginal athletes pursuing sport in euro-canadian contexts: visual and narrative stories of acculturation
Authors: Blodgett, Amy T.
Keywords: Aboriginal people;decolonizing research;participatory action research;cultural sport psychology;arts-based method
Issue Date: 27-May-2015
Publisher: Laurentian University of Sudbury
Abstract: Researchers have documented the importance of sport in the lives of Aboriginal people, emphasizing how it can improve health and wellness and reaffirm core cultural values and connections (Lavallee, 2007; Reading, 2009). However, there is a lack of knowledge about the experiences of Aboriginal people who are engaging in sport, as well as cultural issues that affect their participation. Addressing this dearth of information, the current project was aimed at exploring the relocation experiences of Aboriginal athletes (14 to 26 years old) who had relocated off reserves in Northeastern Ontario to pursue sport opportunities within “mainstream” (Euro-Canadian) communities. The project was developed with Aboriginal community members and was driven forward as a form of cultural sport psychology, aimed at challenging the culturally excluding processes of traditional sport psychology (Ryba, Stambulova, Si, & Schinke, 2013). Mandala drawings (circle drawings) and conversational interviews were employed as part of a decolonizing methodology that centralized local Aboriginal ways of knowing, and that enabled in-depth experiential accounts of relocation to be shared (Smith, 1999). A local Indigenous version of an inductive thematic analysis was used to organize the data around three overarching themes: (1) the benefits of relocation, (2) the challenges of relocation, and (3) strategies for helping relocation. The results provide novel insights into how the sport experiences of relocated Aboriginal athletes are shaped by the dynamics of acculturation (i.e., second-culture learning). Through the participants’ accounts, it is revealed how relocated athletes have to dynamically (re)construct a sense of identity and belonging from shifting positions in and between dual (Aboriginal and Euro-Canadian) cultural contexts. Moving towards action, this knowledge can now be used to facilitate more inclusive sport contexts that embrace (rather than iv marginalize) the cultural identities of Aboriginal participants. Local community change efforts have already been initiated within the Aboriginal community through the engagement of the athletes’ mandalas as visual stories. In an effort to encourage future CSP research that is meaningful within the lives of marginalized sport participants, some final implications are drawn from the research.
Appears in Collections:Doctoral Theses
Human Studies and Interdisiplinarity - Doctoral Theses

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