Truth & Reconciliation: Our Commitment to Action #87


October 1st, 2021

Yesterday marked the first annual National Day for Truth & Reconciliation, a day for reflection, listening and understanding.

It is on one hand an important opportunity to speak truth to the adversity that many in our Indigenous and First Nations communities have dealt with over generations, including the tragic history and ongoing legacy of residential schools – and to honour their survivors, families and communities.

On the other hand – especially for those of us who are so proud to be associated with the BC Sports Hall of Fame — it’s an opportunity to celebrate our Indigenous peoples and the strong roots they have planted in helping to define a new Canada. It is an opportunity to create a clearing for stories of courage, accomplishment and hope, including the many rich and layered contributions of the many indigenous athletes, coaches, builders, pioneers, teams and others – here in B.C. and across Canada — who have triumphed in the face of adversity.

It’s a reminder for us of the direction for change that emanated from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in 2015, an agenda for change that spanned 94 Calls to Action to address the legacy of residential schools and inspire pathways to reconciliation. Of note to all of us who are part of the BC Sports Hall of Fame family is Call to Action #87, which centres on sport heritage:

#87: We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.

Yesterday, on the National Day of Truth & Reconciliation, we stood with other Sports Halls throughout Canada – including members of the Canadian Association of Sports History (CASH) from coast-to-coast-to-coast and the more than 40 local, regional and sport-specific Halls in the Province of British Columbia – to pledge to continue to do our part in every way we can.

The BC Sports Hall of Fame recognizes there is still much work to be done in properly integrating Indigenous athletes into the story-telling that we do as the hub of sport history, sport heritage and sport culture in British Columbia. Yet we are also proud to have been long-standing leaders in recognizing, paying tribute to and otherwise celebrating the extraordinary indigenous sports figures who have done their part to inspire the future.

The BC Sports Hall of Fame built and showcased its first Indigenous Sport Gallery in 2008 – around the time the Commission of Truth and Reconciliation began its work but well before its final report. We were the first Sports Hall to do so.

That was just the beginning. Maintaining a meaningful and compelling gallery honouring First Nations and the contributions of Indigenous communities to our province has been a long-standing priority of the BC Sports Hall of Fame, to the point where we expanded it multi-fold on September 25, 2018, when we opened our new Indigenous Sport Gallery.

We are of course gratified that this Gallery has received such notable national and international recognition, including best-in-class prizes awarded by the Canadian Museum Association and the International Sport History Association.

Yet again, there is much work to be done. We believe we are well-placed to help inspire positive change and better understanding. We are confident that we can continue to play a leadership role among Halls in Canada and around the world when it comes to celebrating Indigenous sport and Indigenous sport personalities and leaders.

Part of our ongoing work is our Hero in You program and the development of elementary school learning modules inspired by the extraordinary contributions made by Indigenous and First Nations athletes and sport leaders. I am very proud of the latest chapter of the hero in you program and our new learning modules featuring none other than Terry Fox. We have been preparing for the launch of the first learning modules for some time now and originally hoped to do so last April, but the COVID-18 pandemic made that impossible.

Therefore, it was appropriate – and almost poetic – for the BC Sports Hall of Fame and its project partners to select this week to unveil Terry Fox: Inspiration in Action; this past Wednesday, on the day before the National Day of Truth & Reconciliation.

We staged our media and community event at Coquitlam Town Centre Park, steps away from Ecole Glen Elementary, the elementary school that Terry Fox attended in the late 1960s. He also ran past his school in his training routes for the original Marathon of Hope in 1980. The media release is available online at and through our social platforms, including @bcsportshall on Twitter. More from the event can be found elsewhere in this edition of Inspirations, our monthly e-newsletter.

For those of you who didn’t have the chance to tune into the Facebook Live streaming of the event, please take a look. It was a very meaningful, proud and gratifying day for the BC Sports Hall of Fame and all those who contributed to making Terry Fox: Inspiration in Action possible.

Thanks to the Government of British Columbia for its long-standing support of our Hero in You initiatives and our Indigenous Sport Gallery, to ISPARC (the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council), Metis Nation of British Columbia, School District #43 (Coquitlam) and curriculum design specialists JW Sporta for helping us get this right. Special thanks and congratulations to our BC Sports Hall of Fame Education Committee Chair Lara Mussell Savage for her passionate leadership of this project and to fellow Trustee Tewanee Joseph for his support through the Indigenous Sport Gallery and the 100 Ravens fund-raising campaign. Without Trustees such as Marvin Storrow, OBC, a member of our campaign cabinet and a direct contributor to the 100 Ravens, we may not have been able to see the project through to completion and this week’s launch. And, of course, job well done to our management team and staff, most notably Leanne Jung, our Experiential Programs & Learning Ambassador, whose collaboration and inclusive spirit helped us to deliver a set of lesson plans that we can all be proud of.

Honouring the Past and Inspiring the Future is at the very heart of the fundamental mission of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. We understand, however, and take seriously our responsibility as positive change agents when it comes going beyond that to Reconciling with the Past and Empowering the Future.

Tom Mayenknecht is the Chair of the BC Sports Hall of Fame. A principal at Emblematica Brand Builders in Vancouver and a nationally-recognized sport business commentator and founder and host of The Sport Market sport business radio show, he is a strong advocate for KidSport, Right To Play and other children’s charities. He is also a member of the Ringette Canada Hall of Fame as a builder and Chair of the Paul Carson Sports Broadcast & Media Awards.