The award-winning Indigenous Sport Gallery at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame will soon be available online, bringing the exciting stories and powerful history of Indigenous athletes, coaches and builders to communities and classrooms throughout the province.
“Bringing the stories of these historic Indigenous leaders, coaches and athletes online works to honour their important legacy and inspire future generations of Indigenous athletes,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “The Truth and Reconciliation Call to Action No. 87 is to tell the national story of Indigenous athletes in history. This project is reconciliation in action and shows the power of partnership and paddling together.”
The Province is investing $198,000 for the expansion of the Indigenous Sport Gallery into an interactive online experience and for translation of the gallery’s content into Indigenous languages. This investment is in addition to a provincial grant of $50,000 in May 2021 through the BC Arts Council.
Working in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, communities and sport organizations, the project will be guided by an Indigenous designer and cultural ambassador to ensure the content is authentically transformed from the physical into the virtual world. Completion is expected in spring 2023.
“The Indigenous Sport Gallery highlights the accomplishments and contributions of Indigenous athletes, coaches, teams and builders who have had a profound impact on sport history and culture. This project will continue ongoing efforts to celebrate Indigenous sport together and honour the stories of Indigenous athletes,” said Lara Mussell-Savage, chair, education committee at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame and Chief of the Skwah First Nation. “On behalf of the board of trustees at the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame, we are tremendously grateful to the Province for this vital support that will bring to life this new dynamic dimension of the gallery and help us to reach a broader audience beyond the physical walls of the gallery. This virtual gallery will offer a unique, interactive experience for visitors to learn about and gain greater appreciation for Indigenous sport culture and history.”
The Indigenous Sport Gallery at BC Sports Hall of Fame is the largest known permanent gallery in the world dedicated to Indigenous sport. Established in 2018, in collaboration with the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I SPARC), the gallery’s purpose is to raise the profile and preserve the legacy of Indigenous sport in B.C. as well as strengthen understanding and appreciation for Indigenous reconciliation; foster revitalization of Indigenous languages; and enhance recognition and respect for Indigenous cultures and traditions.
- The Indigenous Sport Gallery contains more than 139 square metres (1,500 square feet) of permanent exhibit space that celebrates the rich history and many contributions to sport by First Nations and Métis athletes, teams, coaches, builders and volunteers.
- The gallery features more than 20 different sports or traditional games significant to Indigenous Peoples.
- More than 40 past and active Indigenous athletes are featured in the gallery, including Terry Fox, Jack Poole, Richard Peter (basketball) and Angela Chalmers (distance running).
- The gallery has won two awards:
- winner of the 2019 Canadian Museums Association Award of Outstanding Achievement in the Exhibitions category; and
- the 2019 Best New Exhibit in the World by the International Sports Heritage Association.
For more information on the Indigenous Sport Gallery, visit: https://bcsportshall.com/exhibit/indigenous-sport-gallery/
For a video of Mark's announcement at the Indigenous Sport Gallery, visit: https://youtu.be/xrqWD0oSeHs