IPACC National Declaration

IPACC is proud to present our National Declaration! Make a statement and tell people your community/organization supports the IPACC National Declaration. IPACC is dedicated to Indigenous Physical Activity in all forms we hope you join us in this important movement. Below you will find a web version of the IPACC Declaration or you can download this Official copy of IPACC National Declaration.

Show Us Your Active Spirit


The Indigenous Physical Activity & Cultural Circle (“IPACC”) is for all people who are involved in traditional activities, fitness, recreation, or sports for Indigenous people. IPACC is a dynamic national organization that provides leadership, guidance and support for Indigenous people in Canada through opportunities in being physically active.

The opportunity to participate in physical activity has significant positive impact on the physical health, and mental, emotional and spiritual wellness of Indigenous peoples. Physical activity is a valuable form of primary prevention of chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other diseases that are caused in part by a sedentary lifestyle.

Along with challenges related to social and economic determinants of health and lack of available funded Indigenous programs, many factors work to create a less than welcoming environment for Indigenous participants in mainstream programs. There is a need to create more culturally sensitive supports for Indigenous youth in physical activity, especially for leaders, rather than to recreate the same supports that are already available in the mainstream.

IPACC’s purpose is to ensure that Indigenous people engaged in physical activity in Canada have access to a complete range of choices and opportunities and have equity as participants, competitors and leaders. At the same time, this system will support and complement the autonomy of the Indigenous communities in respect to culture, management and leadership while fostering appropriate support of provincial and territorial sports delivery systems.

IPACC supports initiatives that increase opportunities in coaching, officiating, and volunteer leadership for women, persons with a disability, Indigenous peoples, and visible minorities. Implementing programs, developing leaders, and increasing resources for facilities, equipment, travel and staff are the first steps to improving accessibility. IPACC promotes available funding opportunities, and creates a network for supporters and leaders.

If IPACC wants sports, recreation, fitness and traditional activities to live up to their potential, we need to be intentional about ensuring that our work reflects Indigenous shared values and that there is a positive environment for all abilities and genders. IPACC must be deliberate to ensure that physical activity is accessible, affordable, culturally sensitive, safe, inclusive, fun and fair for Indigenous people. IPACC also believes that the impacts of the Residential School experience and our history is an essential component in building awareness on how reconciliation today can be developed through physical activity. Therefore, the National Declaration was created to express IPACC’s intentions.

The Indigenous Physical Activity & Cultural Circle created their National Declaration “Show Us Your Active Spirit” with feedback from the IPACC Board of Directors, Advisors, and members.

The IPACC declaration was also developed by reviewing the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples (2008), the Maskwachee (ISCA, 2005), the BC Indigenous youth at the Gathering Our Voices 2008 Declaration (FNHC) , and the Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network (2014).


Indigenous Peoples’ concept of health and survival is both a collective and individual inter-generational continuum encompassing a holistic perspective incorporating four distinct shared dimensions of life. These dimensions are the spiritual, the intellectual, the physical and the emotional. Linking these four fundamental dimensions, health and survival manifests itself on multiple levels where the past, present and future co-exist simultaneously. It is therefore imperative to address these four dimensions and take action to support achieving health in each of these areas. This also includes addressing historical trauma, ongoing colonialism, as well as a commitment to action.
The benefits of physical activity may also impact social determinants of health within a community and may include putting children and youth on a positive life course, and building stronger and more engaged communities. These benefits are realized when physical activity includes traditional values and is accessible for all community members regardless of stage in the journey of life.

We Declare that:

  • We, the Indigenous community of Canada are committed to improving the health and wellness of all Indigenous people through Indigenous and mainstream physical activities, such as: sports, recreation, fitness and traditional physical activities within our communities;
  • We, as Indigenous people, hold self-respect, reverence to previous generations, and future community well-being as the foundation of our culture and we have the inherent Indigenous rights to live healthy and active lives; and
  • We are a strong, powerful, and enduring people that are connected to our families, lands and culture through the teachings and wisdom of our Elders.


We, as representatives of First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities, Nations, Indigenous Peoples and organizations committed to National Indigenous physical activity, sports, recreation, fitness and traditional activities declare that in accordance with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2008) that:

  • Indigenous individuals have an equal right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health (Article 24, 2);
  • States shall also take effective measures to ensure, as needed, that programmes for monitoring, maintaining and restoring the health of Indigenous peoples, as developed and implemented by the peoples affected by such materials, are duly implemented (Article 29, 3); and
  • Indigenous peoples have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional cultural expressions, as well as the manifestations of their sciences, technologies and cultures … sports and traditional games and visual and performing arts. They also have the right to maintain, control, protect and develop their intellectual property over such cultural heritage, traditional knowledge, and traditional cultural expressions (Article 31, 1).

We affirm the right to the highest attainable physical, mental, social, cultural and spiritual health and survival, commensurate with Indigenous Peoples’ definition of health and well-being.

We Call to Action:

  • The Federal and Provincial Governments to work with the Indigenous people of Canada to implement the spirit of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and this National Declaration;
  • The Federal and Provincial Governments to recognize the diverse systems of Indigenous knowledge and physical activity practices, such as: sports, recreation, fitness and traditional activities;
  • The Federal and Provincial Governments to promote free access to quality and culturally relevant physical activity programs according to individual needs, funded without discrimination, that extends to support services, builds reconciliation, and to ensure the full accessibility of services including those in isolated, northern, rural and remote regions;
  • Our First Nation, Métis and Inuit community leaders to guide the way in building a healthier future for our Indigenous communities by making sports, recreation, fitness and traditional physical activities a priority and available in all community programs;
    ➢ All governments and Indigenous organizations to work together to support and implement the principle of this National Declaration; and
  • Ourselves, the Indigenous people of Canada, to implement this Declaration, to strengthen and support our Nations, and to create a healthier future for our People.


The health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada is overwhelmingly affected by determinants beyond the health sector, namely social, economic, environmental and cultural determinants. Negative impacts in all of these areas influence participation in physical activity programs and have fueled the current inactivity, therefore increasing chronic diseases for Indigenous peoples in Canada. These link to the consequences of colonization, residential school, and inter-generational trauma, globalization, migration, cultural continuity, access to territory, poverty and the need for self-determination, and we declare that these broader determinants of health are amenable to intervention by increasing access to physical activity programs to protect and improve the health and wellness of Indigenous Peoples.

Indigenous health and wellness strategies require concerted action on the part of governments and responsible agencies in relation to the social, economic and cultural determinants of the health of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Full and meaningful partnerships are required when working with Indigenous Peoples, with all parties acting in good faith by being transparent in their dealings with Indigenous communities.

We will:

  • Improve the health and wellness of our People by supporting our families and communities through increased sports, recreation, fitness and traditional physical activity.
  • Promote traditional and holistic activities that nurture our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health and wellness.
  • Diminish the disparities that exist in our society in the areas of chronic disease, violence, addictions, suicide, racism, and poverty by increasing our health and strength through sports, recreation, fitness and traditional physical activity.
  • Create more opportunities for Indigenous youth, girls and women, people with disabilities, and families to participate in healthy and fun activities.


Indigenous Sport strategies have been developed at the national, regional and local level by Indigenous Sports and Recreation service organizations and their partners to address some of the physical activity needs of Indigenous Peoples. However, there is still an enormous gap between policy and action. This gap can be closed with the political will to implement existing policies and strategies.
First steps should include recognizing Indigenous Peoples’ rights to self-determination, and adhering to the principles of holism, meaningful participation, mutual respect and reciprocity, reconciliation, and supporting the validity and revitalization of Indigenous cultures and institutions.

  • To achieve our commitment towards the implementation of the IPACC National Declaration, policies and programs are needed in the following areas:
    Empowerment strategies for Indigenous people to be physically active at all levels within our Indigenous communities;
  • Capacity building through human, technical and financial resource development;
  • Community directed Indigenous physical activity research programs, including attention specifically to inactivity and barrier issues, and led by Indigenous peoples;
  • Education initiatives for sports, recreation, fitness and traditional activity service providers to ensure culturally relevant program delivery for Indigenous peoples living in urban, rural and remote areas;
  • Participation initiatives that respond to the unique dynamics of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and the diversity within Indigenous communities in Canada;
  • Ongoing funding and resources for Indigenous Sports Service organizations and national bodies that have a specific mandate to promote physical activity for Indigenous peoples.

The IPACC National Declaration can be utilized to update the Indigenous Sport Policy for Canada with coherent and specific outcomes. The development of this declaration is significant to the Indigenous community of Canada for it is an acknowledgement of the importance of sport, recreation, fitness and traditional activities within these communities.

If you or your organization are interested in signing the National Declaration please email: indigenouspacc@gmail.com