February 26th, 2021 – Decolonizing Physical Activity and Sport


Move UBC, the School of Kinesiology, the UBC Learning Circle, UBC Recreation and UBC Wellbeing are hosting a panel to bring awareness to how physical activity and sport can be decolonized for Move UBC month. For the School of Kinesiology’s 75th anniversary, join us on February 26, 2021 from 12:00-1:30pm to learn how to promote sport and physical activity within Indigenous communities.

What is decolonizing physical activity and sport?

Decolonizing is the process of deconstructing colonial ideologies that foster Western discourses as superior while non-Western discourses as viewed as inferior. Decolonizing physical activity and sport aims to deconstruct societal structures and forces that allow for inequalities to reproduce in physical activity and sport towards Indigenous communities. Through residential schools and anti-Indigenous policies, these intergenerational impacts have prevented Indigenous communities from participating in physical activity and sport. This discussion panel will analyze and discuss how to decolonize physical activity and sport.

Thank you for your interest and participation!

This session’s video is now available for viewing.

Thank you to everyone for your continued interest in our events.

We would like to reiterate that everyone is welcome to our UBCLC sessions.

Our events aim to embody a safe space for everyone of all different backgrounds to have their opinions and voices equally heard

Date: Friday, February 26th, 2021 (PST)
Time: 12:00pm – 1:30pm

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Our Moderator:


Chief Lara Mussell Savage, BKin, MBA
Lara Mussell Savage was raised both in Chilliwack and in the urban setting of Vancouver. Proud of her Sqwá First Nation (Stó:lō/Pilalt) ancestry and a dedicated athlete, Lara focuses her passion for sport on Indigenous sport and youth.  She graduated as a Wesbrook Scholar from UBC with BKin in Sport Management and completed her MBA at SFU.  In 2005, Lara was awarded Canada’s National Tom Longboat Award for Female Indigenous Athlete of the Year and has competed in 4 World Championships in the sport of Ultimate, winning 2 gold and 2 bronze medals. Lara’s career in sport has included management roles with UBC’s Department of Athletics & Recreation, Air Canada PGA TOUR Championship, and BC Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.  Lara was the Project Manager, Aboriginal Sport & Youth, for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).  Lara currently serves as the Director of Sport with I·SPARC. Lara was inducted into the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 for her achievements in and contribution to sport.  She is an ambassador for the #LeveltheField campaign that promotes gender equity in sport and is also a Trustee for the BC Sports Hall of Fame & Museum.  Since 2014, Lara has served as an elected Councillor for her nation and was elected as Chief Councillor in 2020. Lara resides in Chilliwack, BC, on the Sqwá Reserve, with her husband and two children.

About the Presenters:


Elder Alex Nelson

Alex is a proud member of his Musgamagw Dzawada’enuwx First Nations Ancestry in Kincome Inlet, BC. He is a seven-year product of the infamous Alert Bay Residential School System. Since 1972 he and his Wife Nella, Daughter Tasha, Grandsons Avery and Braden,

and Great Grandson Kasalas have resided in Victoria, and maintains strong connections to their homelands and culture.

Alex holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Leisure Studies from the University of Victoria. He is currently an Elder and Senior Advisor to the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (British Columbia’s recognized Aboriginal sport body).

Alex was one of the founders of the Aboriginal Sports & Recreation Association of B.C, which evolved into ISPARC. He is a founder of the Aboriginal Sports Circle, and was the first Chairperson and three-time President of the North American Indigenous Games Council

(NAIG). One of his proudest moments was when he directed the delivery of the 1997 North American Indigenous Games in Victoria; as well as Coaching U16 Team BC Boys Gold Medalist 2017 NAIG. He was recently inducted into Victoria Sports Hall of Fame, as well as BC Sports Hall of Fame. Sport has always been a vehicle for freedom and healing for Alex, “My responsibility is to give to the next generation what sport has given to me”.



Dr. Rosalin Miles is Nlha7kápmx & an active community member of Lytton First Nation.

Rosalin completed her Education, Doctoral Degree, Curriculum and Instruction, major Exercise Science, and her Graduate Certificate in Non-Profit Management at the University of Central Florida. She obtained her Master’s degree in Human Kinetics, specializing in Coaching Science, at UBC.  Rosalin is also an active Kinesiologist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist National Strength & Conditioning Association. Rosalin Miles works as a Research Associate in the Indigenous Studies in Kinesiology program in the School of Kinesiology at UBC since 2017.  Her research and training are focuses on promotion of Indigenous health and wellness, and understanding the value of traditional, cultural and historical knowledge from diverse communities from a strength based approach.


In 2019, Rosalin received the House of Commons, Vancouver Quadra’s Hidden Hero Award for her work as the founder and Executive Director of the Indigenous Physical Activity & Cultural Circle, which is a national non-profit organization that has hosted five annual 5km runs with the Musqueam community to promote physical activity and well-being.  In addition, she has also hosted seven National Indigenous Physical Activity & Wellness conferences and will be hosting the first national conference virtually in May 2021. Overall, Dr. Miles has a combined 36 years of experience working in the sports, fitness, education and health field in a variety of disciplines as a division one level NCAA level coach, active release therapist, college and university instructor, research writer, national awarded coach, and a national level athlete.



Waneek Horn-Miller

Waneek Horn-Miller is a bear clan mohawk graduate student in Indigenous Studies in Kinesiology  at the University of British Columbia. She hails from the communities of Kahnawake and Ohsweken.    She has worked as a sports commentator for CBC and APTN, and has become a strong advocate for sport, fitness and wellness. She also has traveled extensively throughout North America as a motivational speaker sharing her journey from the front lines of the Oka Crisis to the Olympics with indigenous and non-indigenous audiences. As one of Canada’s few Aboriginal Olympians, Waneek has used her passion and  experiences in sport to influence Aboriginal and non-aboriginal leadership towards making Sport and Wellness a community building priority.


Lyric Atchison

My name is Lyric Atchison and I am a member of the Squamish Nation from North Vancouver, BC. I am in my fourth year in the kinesiology program here at UBC, in the interdisciplinary stream with a large focus and passion in sociology and gender, race and social justice (GRSJ) studies. I have been a member of the UBC women’s rugby team throughout my time at UBC and have also had the honor of representing Canada at the U20 tri-nations series in 2019. Being a student athlete at UBC has been an amazing experience, I have gotten to travel the world playing the sport I love and work every day towards bettering myself and pursuing my goals while surrounded by a supportive team and athlete community, all while receiving a world class education. I am excited that it has enabled me to have a platform on which to speak about issues I am passionate about, such as this panel on decolonizing sport and Physical Activity.



  • Benefits of fitness among First Nations (w/ Dr Rosalin Miles, UBC Indigenous Studies in Kinesiology) – Video

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