COC Launches Aboriginal Olympian Stories School Program at the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games

Today, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) celebrated the official launch of its Aboriginal Olympian Stories, a new addition to the Canadian Olympic School Program. These stories are a new division to the recently expanded Canadian Olympic School Program presented by RBC.

These stories profile Aboriginal Olympians who have represented Canada at the Olympic Games. They offer students the opportunity to gain new insights into Aboriginal cultures. The Education Symposium hosted by the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games provided an ideal opportunity for COC to launch the program.

“Education groups began asking what the Canadian Olympic School Program was doing to support Aboriginal education,” said Bruce Deacon, Manager of Education and Community Relations, COC. “We wanted to connect students with the Olympic Movement while at the same time introducing them to some of the greatest Aboriginal Olympians of all time.”

Olympians featured in this section of the Canadian Olympic School Program include: Angela Chalmers (Athletics), Waneek Horn-Miller (Water Polo), Alwyn Morris (Canoe/Kayak), and the late Tom Longboat (Athletics).

“These athletes are wonderful role models for Aboriginal youth by exhibiting Olympic and Aboriginal values of excellence, leadership, respect and perseverance,” explains Virginia Doucett, Executive Director of the Aboriginal Sports Circle.

The stories are told in English, French, Cree, Mohawk and Hul’qumi’num and include a series of learning activities that fit well with language arts and social studies provincial learning outcomes.

“The North American Indigenous Games are about supporting Aboriginal youth, using the power of sport to enable them to pursue their dreams and feel pride in their rich cultural history. Who knows, perhaps we have some future Olympians participating right here at these Games,” said Rick Brant, CEO of Cowichan 2008. “These Aboriginal Olympian Stories will create an educational legacy for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal youth and showcase the significant contribution Aboriginal athletes have made to Canadian sport.”

With the generous support of long-time sponsor RBC, the COC recently expanded the program to include learning resources for Grades 2-12. The addition of the new Aboriginal Olympian Stories to the Canadian Olympic School Program will enable the Olympic Movement and Olympic spirit to be shared through several languages and cultures.

“We are pleased we could partner with the COC to celebrate these four Aboriginal athletes and highlight the many Aboriginal languages spoken across Canada,” said Donna Wilson, Executive Vice President Workforce and Sustainability for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC). “This project furthers our objectives to raise awareness of the diversity of Aboriginal languages in Canada and will help to bring greater recognition to the issue of Aboriginal language renewal.”

The Aboriginal Olympian Stories and lesson plans are available as free downloads at

The Canadian Olympic School Program has been providing teachers with free bilingual classroom resources since 1988. It provides top quality learning resources designed to meet provincial learning outcomes, while engaging students in the excitement of the Olympic Movement.