IWG Indigenous Statement


“ Indigenous women throughout the world are among the most marginalised groups, suffering discrimination not only on the basis of sex and race, but also on the basis of their culture and class. The complex interaction of factors such as colonialism, globalization, nationalism and top-down policies and paternalistic approaches to development has resulted in a social and economic environment that has been limiting for indigenous women.”

[“Gender and Indigenous Peoples” UN Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women and the secretariat of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues]







  1. Acknowledge that colonisation, racism and patriarchy has and continues as a barrier for indigenous women’s participation in sport and physical activity.
  2. Acknowledge that sport can be a mechanism for activism and indigenous resurgence and in resisting anti-indigenous racism, colonialism and patriarchy.
  3. Acknowledge that there is little research or data that relates to the participation of indigenous women and girls in sport and physical activity, but noting the limited information confirms very low levels of participation.
  4. Acknowledge the benefit of sport and physical activity for the holistic health, wellbeing and healing of indigenous women and girls.
  5. Acknowledge that indigenous people have a distinct status by virtue of being first nations people, as recognised by UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
  6. Acknowledge there is a contrast between mainstream (western) and indigenous sport.


  1. Cost of participation, including fees, equipment and transportation.
  2. Lack of a support system.
  3. Feeling unsafe.
  4. General absence of opportunities for women and girls.
  5. Experiences of racism and discrimination, including tokenistic actions.
  6. Lack of visible role models.
  7. Lack of confidence based on intersectional factors stemming from colonisation and the challenge to be more resilient.
  8. Feeling of being selfish at the expense of family/community.
  9. Sense and burden of responsibility and accountability to community.

Action Required

  1. Prioritise indigenous women’s physical activity and sport at all levels of the participant development pathway and in all national sports policies, programmes and initiatives.
  2. Provide safe and inclusive opportunities for indigenous women which will increase representation and therefore increase visibility.
  3. Invest in indigenous stream sport and physical activity such as indigenous majority events like North American Indigenous Games, World Indigenous Games, indigenous leagues and workshops, i.e any event that brings together indigenous communities, fosters cultural pride, develops support systems and showcases representation.
  4. Invest in anti-racism and cultural competency programmes for coaches, trainers, sports officials, governance members and administrators.
  5. Ensure investment in indigenous sport and physical activity is specifically targeted at women and girls.
  6. Ensure programmes for indigenous women and girls are designed by indigenous women and girls in a manner that allows them to control, lead and manage their own activities.
  7. Collect data and information about indigenous women and girls participation to inform future actions and to monitor progress.
  8. Build partnerships with indigenous sporting bodies and organisations.
  9. Where indigenous bodies and organisations do not exist, identify areas for development providing for the establishment of bodies and resource capacity building.
  10. Incorporate indigenous values into mainstream sport and physical activity.
  11. Enable indigenous women and girls to tell their stories and to be recognised through those stories within organisations, including halls of fame and by recognising days of significance for indigenous communities, such as orange shirt day.
  12. That national and international sporting events respect, include and engage indigenous people of the area.
  13. Recognise and provide for all indigenous women and girls in all their diversity e.g two spirit, takatapui.
  14. Enable and encourage partnerships with health agencies in order to promote sport and physical activity as a means to improve indigenous women and girls’ health disparities.
  15. Enable and encourage partnerships with media to ensure visibility and sustainability for indigenous women in sport and physical activity.
  16. Incorporation of an indigeneity stream at all IWG Conferences with an emphasis on indigenous speakers and indigenous visibility and representation.

Statement agreed at Orakei Marae by participants of the First Nations/Indigenous Workshop 8th IWG World Conference
16 November 2022

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