Stickhandling through the Margins: First Nations Hockey in Canada
Some of hockey’s fiercest and most passionate players and fans can be found among Canada's First Nations populations, including NHL greats Jordin Tootoo, Jonathan Cheechoo, and Gino Odjick. At first glance the importance of hockey to the country's Aboriginal peoples may seem to indicate assimilation into mainstream society, but Michael A. Robidoux reveals that the game is played and understood very differently in this cultural context. Rather than capitulating to the Euro-Canadian construct of sport, First Nations hockey has become an important site for expressing rich local knowledge and culture.
With stories and observations gleaned from three years of ethnographic research, Stickhandling through the Margins richly illustrates how hockey is played and experienced by First Nations peoples across Canada, both in isolated reserve communities and at tournaments that bring together participants from across the country. Robidoux's vivid description transports readers into the world of First Nations hockey, revealing it to be a highly social and at times even spiritual activity ripe with hidden layers of meaning that are often surprising to the outside observer.
‘A sincere pleasure to read, Stickhandling through the Margins provides rich observations about the First Nations hockey scene and demonstrates Michael A. Robidoux's great passion for the subject.’ (Gamal Abdel-Shehid, Graduate Programme in Social and Political Thought, York University)
‘Engaging, approachable, and informative, Stickhandling through the Margins will be of interest to those who not only play and follow hockey, but also those who think critically about it. Michael A. Robidoux offers a wonderful account of the interconnections between sport and survival in First Nations communities, communicating complex ideas about social life with clarity and ease. This splendid and theoretically rich ethnography really exemplifies what good work in sport studies should look like.’ (C. Richard King, Department of Critical Culture, Gender, and Race Studies, Washington State University)
About the Author
Michael A. Robidoux is an associate professor in the School of Human Kinetics and the Indigenous Health Research Group at the University of Ottawa.