Tom Fabian and Audrey R. Giles from the School of Human Kinetics, University of Ottawa, Canada, suggest the need to appreciate the differences of traditional games from sport for development practices for the purposes of cultural and youth development.
Indigenous games are rarely discussed within the sport for development (SFD) realm.
Instead, even when SFD interventions are aimed at Indigenous youth, the focus is typically on the use of “modern” (European-derived) sport.
The authors of this journal sought to analyse how mainstream and Indigenous media in Canada produce understandings of traditional Indigenous games and how, and if, media discourses reflect the idea of traditional games as a form of SFD.
Using databases, the authors searched both mainstream and Indigenous media sources over a 10-year period (2011 to 2021), identifying 23 articles pertaining to traditional games.
Using critical discourse analysis, it was noted the (re)production of two discourses in both mainstream and Indigenous media sources:
- Traditional games keep culture alive; and
- Indigenous youth can be “reclaimed” through traditional games.
In concluding that similar discourses were produced about traditional games in both mainstream and Indigenous media sources, the manner in which the discourses were produced became a focal point for examination.
The Western-centric sports journalism approach to traditional games coverage illuminated a strong SFD ideology within the discourses, despite traditional Indigenous games largely rejecting Western sport logic.