"I was striving for success in an outside world that was not meant for me. For me to be in the public life, to be in white society, was very difficult."
- Fred Sasakamoose
For many Canadians, hockey stories help explain who they are and where they belong. But most know only part of the story. And if you change the story, you change everything. We are here to change the story.
The Indigenous Hockey Research Network is a collective of researchers dedicated to uncovering and engaging with hockey’s Indigenous past, present, and future. We aim to cultivate critical understandings of hockey’s role in relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples in Canada over time. Through archival research, personal interviews, data analysis, and Indigenous community-led approaches, we take up hockey as a site for community building and Indigenous empowerment, as well as a vehicle for the pursuit of reconciliation between Indigenous Peoples and mainstream Canadians.
Hockey occupies an ambivalent space in relation to Indigenous sovereignty and ongoing settler colonialism in Canada. Hockey has been used as a tool of social engineering and has been accessed as a tool for liberation; it has been a way of denying Indigenous rights and of asserting them; it has been employed as a means of whitewashing Indigenous histories and as a means of embodying Indigenous persistence.
IHRN: Current Projects
WHAT'S BEING SAID
“Our central goal is to change how hockey is played and understood on Turtle Island. We are a collective of researchers dedicated to uncovering and engaging with hockey’s Indigenous past, present, and future at both academic and community-engaged levels,”
October 2, 2018
“No matter what rink I played in, I faced the ugliness of racism… The sad part is that same systemic racism is so prevalent today.”
March 29, 2019
“Hockey plays a central role in First Nation communities, maybe even more than in other places. It connects isolated First Nations, showcases young local stars, and keeps kids busy and out of trouble.”
From The Riverton Rifle
Indigenous Hockey Research
Department of English