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Total Sports Group Formed

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      MAY 1976      v06 n05 p58  
Concern for the young people and the lack of active sports and recreation for these young people prompted four members of the Muskoday Band to form an Advisory Committee for recognition as total sports and recreation committee.

Lyle Bear, Chairman of this committee, said except for the reserve's curling and pow-wow clubs, any other kind of sports were non-existent. The reserve has their own curling rink, which has two sheets of ice.

Mr. Bear said, "the people seemed to have lost interest and of course, the young people having nothing here on the reserve to occupy their time, usually end up heading for the nearby towns.

"Our main concern is to offer recreation programs and some sort of facilities to all Band members, the young and the old alike. Too often organized sports on reserves are geared more towards the older people, leaving out the younger generation.

"We wanted some sort of a facility where these young people could go and have something to occupy their time. We wanted a place for them on the reserve," said Mr. Bear.

Mr. Bear said they first approached the Chief and Council back in February of this year for recognition as total sports and recreation committee to organize clubs and also to assist existing clubs.

"The first thing we did was to form six clubs which includes the two existing clubs, curling and pow-wow, and the other four clubs, being rodeo, ball, hockey, and teen. Each of these clubs have seven members with a president heading each club. These positions are elected positions and are held on two-year terms," said Mr. Bear.

These six clubs do their business under one roof, an old farm instructor's house, otherwise known as an Indian Agency House. This building is also used as an activity centre, where the young people could get together to play pool, table tennis, lawn darts, or simply a place where they can meet.

For a starting grant, the Chief and Council committed $2,000 towards the furnishings, plus for the general upkeep of the centre like the power and telephones. "Most of the furniture was donated, while the office desks were built by a local resident. We spent some money repairing the building," said Lyle.

"Our budget for this year is $12,500 because some of the club's starting out will have to buy equipment, etc. The budget won't be that much for other years. We got a grant from the Department of Culture and Youth and a few dollars come from the Department of Indian Affairs also." Mr. Bear also said they sent out a proposal to National Health and Welfare for the up-keep of the activity centre, but to date no answer has been received.

To help pay for the operating costs, each of the six clubs pay $10 a month and this money goes towards the payment of the power and telephone. Each club is also responsible for raising funds to be used by that particular club. On Muskoday's Treaty Day, May 10, the pow-wow club sponsored an open air bingo, the proceeds to go to that club.

Since the grants are not big enough to subsidize all the clubs, the clubs themselves have to find other means of support. One of the things the Advisory Committee did was to present a resolution in a letter form to the Chief and Council to be used on 'white farmers' leasing land on the reserve. "There are 28 farmers leasing land, which totals to about 80 leases. We approached each farmer and asked for a donation of $50 a quarter section, which should come to about $5,100," said Lyle Bear. He went on to say that many of the farmers have committed themselves.

"We also approached the Band Council for one-half section of land for recreational purposes. Some of this land will be used for pow-wow grounds, rodeo, and four ball diamonds, and the remainder will be leased to the Band Farm. The proceeds from leasing this land will go to the clubs."

Mr. Bear said the response from the people has been very good. Mr. Bear is a Probation Officer and has assumed the position of Chairman for sports and recreation on his own free time.