War Canoe

The Double Helix

About Me


I'mJason Anson

a Sociology Student

In 2017, I started studying Sociology at Athabasca University towards a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology. This website may be of interest and use to politicians, academics, Indigenous people of Canada or anyone else concerned about whether or not progress has been made in this area. Specifically my research focuses on the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action #87 through #91.

Using a macrosociological and microsociological framework for analysis, I am working towards answering the question: Why has only one First Nation person gone to the Olympics in the sport of Canoe in 100 years? To do this, I have been observing and researching this topic since 2011 and I will continue through to the end goal of the 2024 Paris Olympic summer games. The 100 year anniversary since Canada demonstrated the sport of Canoe at the 1924 Paris Olympic summer games. Until then, this website will stay in a construction like zone as my research continues.

SomeUniversity Grades

Storyboard Design/Development: A+

Intro to Sociology II: B+

Research Methods in the SOSC: A-

Social Problems: B+

Docuseries: War Canoeology

The Sociological Imagination

Episode: Intro

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Episode: #87

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Episode: #88

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Episode: #89

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Episode: #90

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Episode: #91

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Government of Canada Progress

On December 15, 2015,Justice Murray Sinclair released the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) 94 Calls to Action. On the same day, CBC reported that "the Prime Minister reiterated the Government of Canada’s commitment to implement the recommendations of the commission.". According to the CBC Beyond 94 website, which tracks the progress of the TRC Calls to Action by a) not started, b) in progress and c) complete. The Government of Canada had completed 10 of the 94 Calls to Action, of which three of them are in the Sports and Reconciliation section below.

TRC #87


The National Story of Aboriginal Athletes in History

"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."

TRC #88


Long-Term Aboriginal Athlete Development

"We call upon all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel."

TRC #89

Not Started

The Physical Activity and Sport Act

"We call upon the federal government to amend the Physical Activity and Sport Act to support reconciliation by ensuring that policies to promote physical activity as a fundamental element of health and well-being, reduce barriers to sports participation, increase the pursuit of excellence in sport, and build capacity in the Canadian sport system, are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples."

TRC #90


National Sports Policies, Programs and Initiatives

"We call upon the federal government to ensure that national sports policies, programs, and initiatives are inclusive of Aboriginal peoples"

TRC #91

In-Progress - Projects Proposed

International Sporting Events and Territorial Protocols

"We call upon the officials and host countries of international sporting events such as the Olympics, Pan Am, and Commonwealth games to ensure that Indigenous peoples’ territorial protocols are respected, and local Indigenous communities are engaged in all aspects of planning and participating in such events."

My Latest Essays

A microsociological scientific study of Canadian society, including patterns, relationships, interactions and culture in the Olympic sport of Canoe. #WePaddle

Social Statistics: Olympic Sprint Canoe Clubs in Canada

  • How many Olympic Sprint Canoe Clubs in Canada name themselves after Indigenous words? 19% of the clubs do.
  • How many Olympic Sprint Canoe Clubs in Canada use stereotypical "Indian" head logos? 2% of the clubs do.
  • How many Olympic Sprint Canoe Clubs in Canada advertise mainstream "war canoe" racing? 38.5% of the clubs do. 

CanoeKayak Canada Mainstream/Whitestream War Canoe -vs- Indigenous War Canoe

APTN television series “Samaqan: Water Stories”[4], in the episode about the Tribal Canoe Journeys 20th anniversary that was released in 2014. The youngest of the Campbell Brothers can be seen above in blue.

History of the War Canoe Movement

In order to have a social movement, you need to have a social problem. In my course Social Problems (Socio 290) I wrote my final research paper on The Assimilation of Indigenous Canoe/Kayak, within the past 150 years, in the Maritimes [1]. In that paper I wrote about how the Olympic Institute of CanoeKayak Canada, a mainstream/whitestream sport organization’s “war canoe” racing amounts to a) colonization, b) cultural appropriation, and c) cultural assimilation. It does this by calling their racing canoes and the sport - “war canoes” when white people never went to a war in a canoe and the First Nations people of Canada did. These white teams of athletes paddling “war canoes” then a) name their teams after indigenous words or nations, as seen in the Mic Mac Canoe Club and b) wear stereotypical “Indian” head logos on their team outfits when they have no association with the Mi’kmaq First Nation historically. This mainstream sport of “war canoe” amounts to a collective activity and not a social movement. In a Truth and Reconciliation era, Indigenous communities are trying to reconnect with their culture which in many cases was lost due to the long-term effects of the Canadian Indian Residential School system. The war canoe is a large part of the First Nations people of Canada’s history and as they move forward the mainstream “war canoe” racing system of the Institute CanoeKayak Canada is confusing and inappropriate when viewed in a balanced context .

In the book by Suzanne Staggenborg and Howard Ramos - Social Movements (3rd edition), they write “most social movement scholars would agree that social movements ‘are collective efforts, of some duration and organization, using non-institutionalized methods to bring about social change’ (Flacks, 2005:5). ” [2] . An example of a Canadian Social Movement in a Truth and Reconciliation Era can be seen in 2013 by way of an online petition against the Institution of CanoeKayak Canada: Change The Name from "War Canoe" to C-15 [3]. The petition ran for a set amount of time and its intent was for the Institutions to understand the historical context of “war canoe” racing and how it would not be considered acceptable in a Truth and Reconciliation era. The petition opens with “In June of 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper stood in the House of Commons, and on behalf of the Government, apologized to the First Nations people of Canada.” and it reads out the apology and ends with “"Today, we recognize that this policy of assimilation was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country."”. Yet, we still have assimilation happening in the sport of Canoe and Kayak “war canoe” racing. Where Indigenous youth are encouraged to participate in mainstream “war canoe”. The petition continues with “CanoeKayak Canada and its club members continue to race 'war canoes' amongst the dominant culture. The use of this term (for this type of canoe/race) is insulting and demeaning to most First Nations people. While generations of 'white' people were racing these canoes and calling them 'war canoes' the indigenous people of our country were being segregated, abused, neglected and tortured to rid them of their culture, language and traditions.”

Indoctrination (Examples/Purposes): The Greater Victoria Harbour Authority, CanoeKayak Canada and Right To Play.

Aboriginal War Canoe Race Victoria BC by Bottega Creative

I will summarize the book ‘Rocket Scientist Guide to Money and the Economy’ by Michael Sharp, by quoting, “ ... in the end “it's always about the money.” [1]  I will use the book ‘Accounting for Genocide’, to show how the Federal Government of Canada (and the Partners they fund) use accounting as a tool in the cultural genocide of the Indigenous people of Canada - but through the lens of sport. In the book, Accounting for Genocide by Neu and Therrien it reads “The conquest of the New World - The Americas in general and Canada in particular - could not be perceived by the conquerors as successful without the cultural genocide of the conquered peoples. Aboriginal cultures represented to the European everything “progress” and “civilization “ were trying to leave behind.”. To do this, I will give three examples of Indoctrination. The oxford dictionary says that Indoctrination is “the process of teaching a person or group to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.” [42]  These examples and purpose of Indoctrination include:

War Canoe Talking Circle

Post watching a) Cheema War Canoe - 2012 Olympics and b) Canada Summer Games War Canoe.

The First Nation youth answer the questions candidly of a past President of Canoe Kayak B.C. in regards to the sport of mainstream war canoe.

September 13, 2013.

Video 1https://youtu.be/bmwgr2HB8vA

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "FN war canoe racing as I recall has been going on the Island for 20 plus years especially in Ladysmith, some First Nations athletes have tried it, but the cultures are different, and they seem not to stay, or the cost of travelling to compete impacts their participation, because Bands do not invest in their youth as the white person does."

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 1: The canoe we have been using for thousands of years. But not even 100 years ago they go ahead and say hey, we're going to take the war canoe and we're going to change it right up!.

Brother 2: Money shouldn't really be a problem for the First Nation people. Canada should help out the First Nation people like they said they would do. Theres an Indian act that says they will help all First Nations people and their rights.

Brother 3: White people are different from natives. They just took the canoe and they said oh well make this a racing war canoe. We don't care about the natives, we'll just take it right from them and change it up. It's Stupid.

Video 2https://youtu.be/ixF9JWF-NJc

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "I would also check back in History of the Mic Mac Club in Nova Scotia, it's history is of the Mic Mac First Nations and may have some connections".

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: There's not only relations to the Mic Mac people theres relationship to the canoe with all the First peoples of Canada. Every community on the west coast of British Columbia used the canoe for hundreds and thousands of years.

Video 3https://youtu.be/gBWFWvRU5lE

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "I just do not get all the slamming of the system."

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: We're not being negative we are telling the truth. Today the truth is coming out today that the canoe belongs to us. It's not hurtful, it's the truth and we're telling you the truth. If you cant handle the truth, step back and leave it alone.

Video 4https://youtu.be/CrXJebnyr-M

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "I am sorry, But I do not agree with your argument on this. Because the boat is not their boat or their form of paddling, and therefore in my view can be called anything they want."

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 1: First of all, its not about.... It's a canoe, they have that term war canoe. They don't know how to use the term war canoe thats why they call it a boat.

Brother 2: I think the person who sent the email (A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. ) is completely illiterate as he doesn't know anything about history or culture to the First Nations people or the First Nations People of Canada. The whole west coast of North America First Peoples paddled the oceans on Canoes and as First Nations people we had six different paddles that we use. Theres the Norther Interior, the Southern Interior and the West Coast. The person is illiterate of the history of the canoe because you don't call it a boat. It's just disrespectful of the canoe and the canoe is a living thing. You treat that canoe with respect. The person doesn't know anything about a canoe, the canoe belongs to us, First Nations people and the white people took that away from us.

Video 5https://youtu.be/Ctsh3ySotQ0

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "Is it the fault of the CCA or of government as to why the FN schools were established, what effect or impact did CCA have on or of the FN"

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: First of all the Government of Canada has a really big impact in the residential school because you can see in history that in 2009 the Prime Minister made a public apology to all First Nations people and that's the relationship between the Government of Canada and the residential schools. I learned in school that the government of Canada made Catholics and churches take indian children from their communities, right from their homes and put them in residential schools which they knew nothing about and they were tortured there.

Brother 1: Not only was it the church and Catholic people, It was the English and the Germans. My grandma says they were the worst, the English. She just hates English people now and Germans. She has no sympathy for them. The term they are using War Canoe its just Im saying this over and over again there mistreating it, they have no respect for it, no love, no passion for it when they are paddling. All their doing is trying to go to the finish line and their trying to make history.

Brother 2: What rights to they have when the paddling people of Canada are white. Where does the rights of their canoe come from? How do they have the right to use a Canoe? Where does it come from their oral history? I never hear of anyone speak of their oral history and how they got to use the canoe. Because the canoes belong to the First Nations people and we have a lot of oral history to tell. There are elders alive today that can tell about our canoes.

Video 6https://youtu.be/JCobt7xvhq0

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "The Canadian Canoe Association has been racing these boats 100 years plus or minus, and again they are not the same boat only the event has the same name."

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: We've been using canoes longer than white people have. The only reason white people started using canoes is after they took it away from us and then they learned how to use it. We as First Nations people, they look at how we used the canoe and then they literally took it away from us without thinking we should respect these people because they respect their canoe.

Brother 1: If the event, the war canoe and the boat is not the same. Then they should just totally change the name of the war canoe. They have no right to do that, the guy knows nothing about the war canoe.

Brother 2: Why not just call it a racing boat instead? Because they don't know the official term of War Canoe or where it comes from. War Canoes come from First Nations peoples. In fact in our days, we use to go to war in canoes with other First Nations communities to fight for territory and to fight for food. Not saying we didn't have a lot of food, but to go to war and a long time ago we use to go in our canoes big 42 foot dugouts with about 20 healthy men on board the canoe with all our weapons,  bow and arrows, our spears, and we use to paddle for over 25 miles to that community just to go to war with them and fight over territory. That's the term of War Canoe. It's a totally difference concept then the war canoe in the modern day that the white people use.

Video 7 - https://youtu.be/RgImCsPQF1Q

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "The history speaks for itself, The government keep making errors especially with First Nations issues. But for your paddlers to make it to the Olympics they will have to through the CCA structure. Because they will always want the one on one race off for the right to compete, unless you are a canoe paddler and then the side of the boat you paddle will be considered"

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 1: They have no history, they can't be saying that. they have no history with the war canoe. It was our history.

Brother 3: They're making their own history the wrong way.

Brother 2: Again the canoe doesn't belong to CanoeKayak Canada. They have no rights to keep that passion away from us, that was our daily lives along time ago that our ancestors used.

Brother 1: Just because they tried taking our native right out of us. We were trying to get into that canoe while CanoeKayak Canada is not letting us do that. We are trying to bring our tradition back, we are trying to get our language back.

Brother 2: And we are having a hard time doing that.

Brother 1: And we have these white people trying to take it away from us again. Nothing has changed.

Brother 2: The only reason we are having a hard life right now is because of the white people. They took our language, our culture, and our pot laches away from us. If the white people didn't come and invade Canada, you know take over Canada and say this is our land and put it on a paper. No it doesn't belong to you, it belongs to Aboriginal people. And our Aboriginal Elders, theres a story about white people, the invaders, they call them the visitors that never left.

Brother 1: It's funny that CanoeKayak Canada thinks that they own the war canoe and that they have the choice if us natives can go to the Olympics.

Brother 2: They shouldn't even be thinking about that because people know that the First Nations culture that the canoe belongs to us. We have the rights to take that canoe and bring it to the Olympics. Bring an all Aboriginal team to the Olympics and they will see us compete and win. Its an underdog story.

Video 8 - https://youtu.be/QgHPMViWUoY

A Past President of CanoeKayak B.C. writes "Which FN's are pissed about it"

First Nation Brothers Response:

Brother 2: I would say all the First Nations people of the west coast. The Gitksan, Tsimshian, Heiltsuk, the Nuu-chah-nulth people,  the Kwakwakw'wakw, the Coast Saalish. I could name all the people that are pissed off with it but it will take a long time.

When CanoeKayak Canada uses Propaganda, Structural Advantage and Manufactured Compliance to its Benefit

John Edwards, Former Domestic Director of CanoeKayak Canada using my photo in his presentation of the institutions "Aboriginal Paddling Initiative". Yet, I had never spoken to Edwards despite many attempts on my part and CanoeKayak Canada never contributed to the program I had developed at the time (2012). 

What is “propaganda”? Why is it significant to a study of social movements?

Propaganda is generated often by Public Relations (PR) firms, government and corporations. It serves to spread information that is often biased and one sided. Today the word “propaganda” has been replaced with “spin”. In the book a Century of Spin by David Miller and William Dinan they write that “Edward Bernays, one of the founders of ‘public relations’ put it” ‘propaganda got to be a bad word because of the Germans… using it [in 1914-1918]. So what I did was to try to find some other words.”. Miller and Dinan “think that propaganda is a better term than spin or public relations because it also implies the unity of communication and action.  
I have personally experienced propaganda when I was preparing a group of First Nations youth to attend the 2014 North American Indigenous Games Canoe Championships. At the time, like many others we had a blog and social media account documenting our processes and attempts to qualify for the games. What started off naively turned into a reality of “spin” we were not prepared for. The governing institute for the Olympic sport of Canoe and Kayak in Canada is CanoeKayak Canada. According to affidavits from my Human Rights Tribunal hearing, the institute Domestic Director of CanoeKayak Canada would send an email to its partner organizations CanoeKayak BC which is the provincial extension of its organization. In addition, they would also include The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (ISPARC) and the President of the North American Indigenous Games in their emails.
In that email dated December 2, 2013, the Domestic Director writes “Hi Guys, We should further discuss what we are doing collectively to address Mr. Anson’s messaging. I think a joint response is worth discussing. Let me know your thoughts”. On July 15, 2014 that “joint response” would come in the form of a press release professionally written by a well known Canadian author in sport. “Aboriginal Paddling Initiative Supports a Proud Tradition”. The article writes about each province and a span of more than a decade to claim how successful they are. The article is full of inaccuracies in terms of facts, ideological at best with no supporting evidence and one sided as it didn’t address any of my concerns. What it was, was an attempt to rewrite history.

Ideology and Indoctrination of CanoeKayak Canada: Is mainstream "war canoe" racing a stepping stone to success?’

Social Movements, Class and Power: "Olympics! Meet War Canoe Racing"

Dual Colonialism: Racialized Discourse, Prejudice and Discrimination

I am not of an ethnic minority, my ancestry is predominantly French and German. As a result of being of European decent, I have an interest in Post-colonialism. Indigenous and Colonial topics are at
best a difficult undertaking to discuss from a balanced perspective. As a sociologist, I find it interesting to study the “whitestream” otherwise known as mainstream sport system in Canada. I specifically find the Olympic sport of Canoe fascinating where you have a “Double Helix” sport system broken into two streams based on “race”; a) mainstream/whitestream and b) Indigenous stream. I feel - through the lens of sport, it allows for a palatable narrative that can be accurately told from my sociological imagination.

Growing Up The Children of Institutionalized Parents

"The Duplessis Orphans were children victimized in a mid-20th century scheme in which approximately 20,000 orphaned children were falsely certified as mentally ill by the government of the province of Quebec, Canada."

While living full time on a West Coast First Nation reserve, I was able to relate with many of the indigenous people. The connection we made was one of mental health and shared experiences because our parents grew up as institutionalized children of a governmental system.

I am an only child of a mother, who raised me as a single parent for the first ten years of my life. My mother was raised from the ages of 2 years to 16 years in the Duplessis Orphanage system in Quebec. She experienced similar traumas as those raised in the “Indian” Residential School system. Wikipedia states that “The Duplessis Orphans were children victimized in a mid-20th century scheme in which approximately 20,000 orphaned children were falsely certified as mentally ill by the government of the province of Quebec, Canada, and confined to psychiatric institutions.” The Montreal orphanage my mother resided in was run by the Catholic Church. She was abused for many of those years. The long-term effects of the mental stress and physical abuse she suffered was immense. Not only did she have a short lifespan, but the mental health issues resulting from this abuse would be life changing for me as well.

#TRC88: Aboriginal paddlers welcome academy. #Olympic dreams, am I a Normal person?

1. Am I a normal person?” 

I felt I was always a normal person until I was 38 years old and diagnosed with a form of Autism known as High-Functioning Asperger’s. Which much to my surprise implied I was anything but normal.

2. How you came to be such a “normal” or “deviant” person, as the case may be. ? 

In 2011, Normal for me was my blog “The Sport Technologist Chronicles” and for me “deviant” was my unique perspective on my second blog introduced in 2013 “Living with Aspergers in Sport: My Evil Twin” post diagnosis. From 2004 to 2010, I developed athletic training software for retail and Olympic teams. By 2011, social media and blogging were a popular pastime for people. I wanted to explore the opportunities for demonstrating my skills as a Sport Technologist and I would develop a Sport Technology Canada Blueprint that helped all Canadian athletes to implement technology in their sport. In a short time, my social media would be extremely popular with more than 25,000 followers including many world sport scientists, sport organizations, coaching professionals and professional athletes. During this experience I came to see first hand how the mainstream and Indigenous sport institutions were treating the Indigenous people of Canada. Much to my surprise, my world would fall apart after being diagnosed with High-Functioning Asperger’s.

The Sport Canada Institutions: CanoeKayak Canada and Own The Podium

The Mainstream/Whitestream Sport Canada Institutions 

When I think like a Sociologist and I reflect on my own actions, interactions and agreement to the “rules” of the world. I think about the organized institutions of a) CanoeKayak Canada and b) Sport Canada, a department of the Federal Government. Both institutions operate with structures, boundaries and rules. What many might not know is that Canada operates with two sports streams based on race. This Canadian sports system is known academically as the “Double Helix” which includes an a) Indigenous stream and b) a Mainstream one, also referred to as “whitestream”. When I reflect on my own personal experiences with both institutions, I feel they fall short of their own mandate and idealism they put forward and do not follow their own rules.

First Nation Olympic Kayak Cost

In 2015, the avg. price of a Nelo racing kayak (k1) used in the (2014) North American Indigenous Games was $3,800. “Aboriginal peoples in Canada: Key results from the 2016 Census” states “the median total income of $14,000 for First Nations people living on reserve” ~ stats canada.

TRC Calls to Action

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

War Canoe Canada

A microsociological scientific study of Canadian society, including patterns, relationships, interactions and culture in the Olympic sport of Canoe. #WePaddle

My Contacts

Indigenous Sport

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