The Siksika First Nation and Calgary Hitmen are hoping to inspire other sports organizations and Indigenous groups to partner together with a memorandum of understanding signed Thursday.
The partnership between the First Nation and the hockey club began with the “Every Child Matters” game in February 2020.
The game between the Hitmen and the Red Deer Rebels was aimed at inspiring youth to get involved with sports and gain a better understanding of steps toward reconciliation.
Now, the partners are strengthening that commitment with an MOU aimed at:
- Showcasing the partnership as an example
- Promoting Blackfoot language, culture and history in hopes of addressing stereotypes and racism
- Promoting healthy lifestyles through sports
- Recruiting and retaining young hockey players through mentors, Hitmen players and team alumni
- Establishing engagement opportunities for other sports, recreational activities and physical literacy
“The aim of the partnership is to create the new normal for the promotion of cultural awareness in sporting events through this game, with the hope of expanding the power and reach that events like this can have on communities,” the groups said.
Hitmen vice-president Mike Moore said the signing was a “wonderful opportunity to educate, teach and guide our youth in all communities forward and how to do things right.”
“It’s an honour to be part of this,” he said. “As an organization, but also personally, to be part of something so monumental, and making change… committing to making change.”
Siksika First Nation Chief Ouray Crowfoot hopes the expanding partnership will bring new opportunities for the children in his community.
“One of the things that this organization will help is build those future role models for Siksika and have some positive role models… some more positive role models that our children can look up to.”
— with files from Matthew Conrod, Global News