Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame features online exhibit of Indigenous athletes

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame has unveiled a new, first of its kind educational exhibit in Calgary.

Titled the Indigenous Sport Heroes Education Experience, the exhibit will offer a glimpse into the truths and experiences of Indigenous hall of famers.

The online exhibit features 16 “chapters,” 14 of which are dedicated to the Indigenous all of famers including NHL great Bryan Trottier, runner Joseph Keeper and Olympian and Karakwinontha Waneek Horn-Miller.

According to Cheryl Bernard, president and CEO of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the exhibit aims to promote conversation about equality and inclusion.

“Really it tells the stories of each of these Indigenous hall of famers, and what they had to overcome and the history and the lived experience in their life and you know we realized right then that we had to share this with all,” says Bernard. “I mean for us, it’ll start a conversation.

“We hope it’ll create awareness and really what we hope is that there’s a possibility for reconciliation through the lens of sport.”

The exhibit is part of a seven year initiative which will see new Indigenous hall of famers added should they be inducted, as well as updates to the awards that are featured in the exhibit.

While anyone can view the exhibit, the goal of the project is to reach kids and students.

“If there’s a little girl, little boy, that says you know like ‘hey look what she went through and she went on to become an Olympian you know maybe I can do it too,’” says Indigenous Hall of Famer and former Olympian Waneek Horn-Miller.

“Like that resiliency is in them right, they identify with the story but also identify with like who I am as an Indigenous woman and an Indigenous person.”

All 14 Hall of Famers have a collection of artifacts, photographs and some have video.

There are also chapters on the creation and winners of the Tom Longboat award and the Arctic Winter Games, North American Indigenous Games and the World Indigenous Games.

“What we’re doing for all of our hall of famers is we’re providing a platform to continue to tell their stories beyond sport and so that they’re never forgotten,” says Bernard. “And it provides a platform of role models for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to follow,” says Bernard.

Bernard also says they are looking to have a physical exhibit open to the public in Calgary in early 2023.

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