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June 21, 2024

Community Spotlight presented by Crosbie

Community Spotlight: Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Circle Newfoundland and Labrador

Valentina Nolan has been one of the driving forces behind the Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Circle of Newfoundland and Labrador (ASRCNL), propelling its mission to enhance sport, recreation, and physical activity opportunities for Indigenous peoples. Since its inception in 2007, ASRCNL has played a crucial role in fostering health and cultural pride among Indigenous communities across Newfoundland and Labrador.

The organization has evolved significantly over the years and Nolan’s approach to community engagement and grassroots programming has been central to this evolution. 

"We conduct a thorough needs assessment, engaging directly with communities to identify gaps and interests. Our goal is to always assist where we can in those primary needs," explained ASRCNL Executive Director Valentina Nolan.

Nolan's leadership has also seen the launch of programs like YouGo Girl, which promotes physical activity, healthy living, and cultural engagement among Indigenous women and girls across ten communities. 

She notes their early efforts focused on developing coaching, officiating, and player skills within Indigenous communities. Over time, ASRCNL has participated in major events such as the North American Indigenous Games and the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships, emphasizing national and international exposure for Indigenous athletes.

“We really are starting to see a bigger uptake on athletes wanting to represent Team Indigenous Newfoundland and Labrador,” Nolan said.

Nolan fondly recalls the Labrador Winter Games this past year, saying, “For me, it was a pure privilege to see the people coming together and performing. It doesn’t matter who was competing; you were cheering them on either way. And that is what it is all about, supporting each other.”

Looking ahead, Nolan is excited about ASRCNL’s involvement in the upcoming NL Summer Games in Bay Roberts from August 10-17, 2024. 

Nolan also sits on the 2025 Canada Games Host Society Indigenous Partnership Committee helping bring an Indigenous lens to the planning process.

“It has been a great experience so far. It was amazing to sit with members from each nation and hear their perspectives as a collaborative community to enhance the games experience by acknowledging the first peoples of the Province and across Canada", Nolan shared.

“That want and desire from the Host Society to have this Indigenous presence is what this Games legacy is going to be. Bringing an Indigenous lens to something that is so important to all of Canada. I think this committee can do a lot of really great work.”

Nolan says ASRCNL's involvement in the 2025 Canada Games represents a milestone in their ongoing efforts to promote Indigenous excellence in sports. 

To learn more about ASRCNL and their programming visit their Facebook page.