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Sport is Community

Key Message

Urban Aboriginal youth and adults in Edmonton consider sport as one of the five defining factors of their community. 


McHugh, Tara-Leigh F. et al. (2015). “Sport is community:” An exploration of urban Aboriginal peoples’ meanings of community within the context of sport. Psychology of Sport and Exercise. In press. Available online 4 February 2015. doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2015.01.005


The purpose of this study was to better understand the meanings of community, particularly as it is understood within the context of sport, for urban Aboriginal youth and adults in Edmonton, Alberta.


One-on-one interviews were conducted with 18 Aboriginal youth and adults. Data was analyzed using Elo and Kyngas’ (2008) process of content analysis. The integrated indigenous-ecological model was used as a framework for data analysis and the interpretation of findings.

Findings are represented by five themes that are supported by direct quotes from participants. Participants described community as: (1) belonging, (2) family and friends, (3) supportive interactions, (4) sport, and (5) where you live and come from. Findings from this research suggest that urban Aboriginal youth identify with a number of different communities, and their complex meanings of communities are comprised of various interpersonal level factors.

The knowledge shared by participants provides necessary insights into meanings of community, which are necessary for ensuring that community-driven and community-based sport programs are relevant to Aboriginal youth.

Benefit Statements / Outcomes

Leadership Provided By:

  • Leisure Information Network (LIN)
  • Alberta Recreation and Parks Association

On Behalf Of:

  • Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRAA)

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