For centuries, colonizing governments have utilized cultural policies to eliminate
Aboriginal culture, to make ‘citizens’ out of Native peoples in part by forcing them to relinquish language, cultural practices and traditions and have encouraged them to
embrace mainstream values and cultural practices. In the Canadian context, sport has been utilized by the Canadian government as a civilizing agent to assimilate Aboriginal peoples. This paper analyses the history of this process in Canada and explains how
Aboriginal leaders inverted this process to achieve self-determination through sport, in particular through the North American Indigenous Games and the World Indigenous
Games. In this sense, we argue, sport has been historically contested terrain, wielded to disempower and to empower Aboriginal peoples.