Sporting Indigenous children under settler colonialism: Andrew Bennie, Jeremy Hapeta, Dan Henhawk, Audrey R. Giles, ‘Addressing the Needs of Indigenous Children?: Coach Education Programs in Canada, Aotearoa New Zealand, and Australia’, in Martin Toms, Ruth Jeanes (eds), Routledge Handbook of Coaching Children in Sport, Routledge, 2022


Abstract: Canada, Australia, and Aotearoa New Zealand all share histories of devastating acts of colonialism against Indigenous peoples. As a result of this colonial history, and despite profound and enduring cultural strength and resilience, Indigenous children in these countries being produced as being “at risk.” Sport has long been used as a tool to connect with at-risk youth; unsurprisingly, Indigenous children are often the targets of sport-focused interventions that are meant to “improve” areas in which they are deemed as being deficient. Sport coaches, thus, can play key roles in the lives of Indigenous children. Without sufficient training, however, coaches who are meant to play positive roles in Indigenous children’s lives can (re)produce a sport environment that enables racism and reinforces neo-colonialism. This chapter examines coach education programs in Canada, Australia, and Aotearoa New Zealand, and the extent to which they provide opportunities for coaches to become familiar with Indigenous approaches to sport and sport pedagogy. This chapter argues that it is crucial for national coaching bodies to use culturally safe approaches to sport coaching to ensure that prospective coaches learn about the strengths and resilience of Indigenous peoples, the impacts and legacies of colonisation, and their role of influence in sport contexts over time and Indigenous children’s sport participation.

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