Today, September 30, 2021, Canada Basketball is observing both the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and Orange Shirt Day to remember, reflect, and learn about the long-standing effects the residential school system has had on survivors and their families in Indigenous communities across Canada.
We recognize that true reconciliation requires more than one national holiday marked annually on the calendar and instead needs true action and commitment to change 365 days of the year. However, acknowledging the history and negative impact that not only residential schools, but also the lasting damage the Indian Act continues to have on Indigenous communities today is a vital aspect of reconciliation.
This year was another dark chapter in the history of our country following the gruesome discovery of the remains of thousands of Indigenous children in unmarked graves at former residential schools across Canada. We also recognize the stark reality that there are undoubtedly more yet to be found.
Orange has come to symbolize the acknowledgement of the victims of the country’s residential school system. We encourage Canadians to wear orange today as a way of honouring survivors of residential schools and those who never returned home.
Today is also an important opportunity for action and education. It is a chance to review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada reports and principles, as well as the 94 calls to action to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.
As the national sport organization, governing the sport of basketball in Canada, Canada Basketball is committed and in support of the following Sport and Reconciliation Calls to Action:
87. We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.
88. We call upon all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel.
89. We call upon the federal government to amend the Physical Activity and Sport Act to support reconciliation by ensuring that policies to promote physical activity as a fundamental element of health and well-being, reduce barriers to sports participation, increase the pursuit of excellence in sport, and build capacity in the Canadian sport system, are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples.
90. We call upon the federal government to ensure that national sports policies, programs, and initiatives are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples, including, but not limited to, establishing:
i. In collaboration with provincial and territorial governments, stable funding for, and access to, community sports programs that reflect the diverse cultures and traditional sporting activities of Aboriginal peoples.
ii. An elite athlete development program for Aboriginal athletes.
iii. Programs for coaches, trainers, and sports officials that are culturally relevant for Aboriginal peoples.
iv. Anti-racism awareness and training programs.
91. We call upon the officials and host countries of international sporting events such as the Olympics, Pan Am, and Commonwealth games to ensure that Indigenous peoples’ territorial protocols are respected, and local Indigenous communities are engaged in all aspects of planning and participating in such events.
As an organization, Canada Basketball is dedicated to ensuring that basketball is used to unify people from coast-to-coast-to-coast and we are committed to using our platforms to celebrate the role of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in achieving this shared objective.