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Stickhandling through the Margins

Stickhandling through the Margins: First Nations Hockey in Canada

Copyright Date: 2012
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Stickhandling through the Margins
    Book Description:

    Robidoux's vivid description transports readers into the world of First Nations hockey, revealing it to be a highly social and at times even spiritual activity ripe with hidden layers of meaning that are often surprising to the outside observer.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6213-1
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-14)

    The connection between Trinidadian political activist C.L.R. James and the game of ice hockey (to be referred to as hockey from this point forward) as played by First Nations peoples in Canada may not be immediately obvious to readers, yet after spending four years travelling across the country studying and participating in First Nations hockey events, I could not imagine a more appropriate association. There are of course James’s writings on the colonial condition (1963b, 1969), as well his classic work on the game of cricket in the West Indies (1963a), which shed some light on this relationship; but it...

  5. 1 Coloniality and the Enduring Legacy of Modernity
    (pp. 15-27)

    This book endeavours to offer perspectives on First Nations cultural practices not only as they exist within local cultural frameworks, but also as they interact with the larger global forces that have influenced First Nations peoples for the past five hundred years. I say interact to emphasize the interrelatedness of local cultural practices and modern trajectories of power that have been for far too long understood as unidirectional and complete. Working from what Brazilian anthropologist Darcy Ribeiro (1968) postulated inThe Civilizational Process– and from what subsequent world-systems, post-colonial, and subaltern scholars have since been arguing – I will be approaching...

  6. 2 Healing through Hockey: Finding One’s Spirit on the Ice in the Esketemc First Nation
    (pp. 28-58)

    In central British Columbia, there is a First Nations community that has gained international recognition for its battle with alcohol abuse. The population of Esketemc, a Secwepmc (typically referred to as Shuswap in English). Nation located in Esket (Alkali Lake is the English name) – pejoratively known as Alcohol Lake – at one point in the 1970s had close to a 100 per cent rate of alcohol abuse. Now the community is over 90 per cent sober (Saggers and Gray 1998; York 1989). The incredible turnaround is both an inspirational and cautionary tale, as the suffering endured has left an everlasting impression...

  7. 3 First Nations Hockey Tournaments: Celebrating Culture through Sport
    (pp. 59-109)

    The description provided of hockey in the Esketemc First Nation was intended to expose the powerful potential sport has as local cultural practice. The value in this case was identified in the manner in which it destabilized dominant Western sporting practices that embody the tenets of modernity: rationalization, technological advancement, and progress. It is important to state, however, that hockey in the Esketemc First Nation is not necessarily representative of First Nations hockey in general; there are many forms of First Nations hockey, with various levels of skill, organization, and competitiveness. What was relatively consistent throughout this research was the...

  8. 4 Constructing the Other through Hockey
    (pp. 110-129)

    On my flight home from one of the tournaments, I was seated next to a pilot who was deadheading back home after completing his shift. He asked about my trip and I told him that I was a professor studying First Nations hockey. He was fascinated with the project and told me that he had grown up living close to four different reserve communities and had played hockey with and against First Nations players and teams. He described First Nations hockey as ‘crazy,’ and said that as a ‘white-guy’ he was routinely victimized. He began telling me stories of dangerous...

  9. 5 Hockey as Border Thinking
    (pp. 130-144)

    In Rodolfo Kusch’s ([1970] 2010) now-classic ethnographic work entitledIndigenous and Popular Thinking in América, the second chapter focuses on interactions between Kusch’s research team and local villagers in rural Bolivia. Kusch describes how a grandfather and grandson responded to a suggestion to improve water extraction by taking advantage of an offer through the Agricultural Extension Office to get a free hydraulic water pump. Instead of reacting positively to the advice, the grandson, only ‘to be agreeable, answered between clenched teeth: “Yes, we are going to go [to get the pump]” ’ (9). The grandfather refused to even respond to...

  10. Conclusion
    (pp. 145-152)

    It has been nearly ten years since I began the research for this book, during which time I have shared in unforgettable experiences. The work opened my eyes to the incredible diversity of First Nations cultures and their interactions with the sport of hockey. The first research grant application I wrote for this project was rejected by the reviewers, primarily because they did not believe it would be possible for me to get the necessary access. Fortunately, a follow-up application was successful, and the project actually brought me closer to this research community than any I have ever worked with....

  11. References
    (pp. 153-160)
  12. Index
    (pp. 161-168)