Sport and games

Rouge National Urban Park

Relationships, teamwork and gaming are integral to Indigenous culture.

“Traditional games place less value on winning by valuing a humble behavioral nature (not bragging and by sharing winnings) and by giving away any prizes won to those who were the hardest competitors (those who made the winner try harder, thus do his or her best).” (Taken from the International Traditional Games Society at

“The social values of the traditional games were–and still are–highly important:

  • Respecting the rules of the competition
  • Challenging yourself to do better
  • Respecting your competitors
  • Honouring the person who gave you the most challenge
  • Having courage, intuition, and/or skill
  • Being humble even when winning”

(Taken from "Move & Play Through Traditional Games")

Ceremony, spirit and community 

Running in Indigenous culture connects communities through ceremony, and is a spiritual practice and secures community survival.

In Indigenous tradition, prayer runs are a way to spiritually connect with or give gratitude to Mother Earth. Running is a way to celebrate life, to celebrate blessings given and to celebrate challenges and what has been learned from them.

Footraces would be featured in ceremonies to, for example, help cement ties between neighbours, redistribute crops and goods, and celebrate important events.

Running as a hunting technique helped a community's survival. Before horses were used, the strongest runners employed their endurance to exhaust terrestrial prey, the meat and pelts of which could support the entire village.

Related links

Date modified :