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Sport is often viewed as an apolitical, positive, socially integrative social practice that can lead to the development of people--socially, economically, politically and culturally. This functionalist rhetoric has led to the recent trend in development initiatives in the past two decades, which has led to the nascent field of Sport for Development. However, this functionalist view of sport has often disregarded the broader socio-historical, cultural and political roles that sport has played. For instance, the use of sport to assimilate indigenous people into the dominant western culture during the colonial era, often at the expense of indigenous peoples' own values, beliefs, and traditions. Specifically, I follow many critical scholars by suggesting that SFD programs that are conducted in indigenous communities are often planned, implemented and evaluated from a Western worldview, rather than from the worldview of the indigenous community (Darnell, 2010a; Darnell and Hayhurst, 2012; Forsyth and Wamsley, 2006; Giles, 2007; Nicholls, Giles and Sethna, 2010; Smith, 1999). Given this, in this research project I offer a critical commentary on SFD programs that are conducted within indigenous communities and suggest that there is a need to adopt a decolonizing praxis to SFD in indigenous communities. I provide this perspective by reflecting on a journey I took to visit the Suquamish Tribe of the Port Madison Reserve to talk to them about the Salish Tribal Canoe Journeys. I conclude by suggesting that there are key lessons that can be learnt from the Suquamish and the Salish Tribal Canoe Journeys in relation to adopting a decolonizing praxis to SFD in indigenous communities.
development, indigenous, indigenous rights, self-determination, Sport for development
Date of Defense
July 1, 2013.
A Thesis submitted to the Department of Sport Management in partial fulfilllment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science.
Includes bibliographical references.
Joshua Newman, Professor Directing Thesis; Jeffrey James, Committee Member; Michael Giardina, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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