Marginalized No More: We are Now Seen and Heard

A woman with long black hair smiling, wearing a light-colored sweatshirt with a geometric logo, is seen standing against a pale metal wall.

Growing up in a Métis family that struggled with addictions was not always easy. Sadly, I witnessed the death of my father when I was eleven years old and later in life, my mother’s suicide. Having experienced plenty of trauma throughout my life has left me with anxiety and complex PTSD.

So, I sat there one day, and I pondered to myself…How was I one of many Indigenous children to navigate this societal system and be deemed “a good native,” because in societies eyes I was successful? I made it. I beat the odds. However, regardless of whatever your skin colour is, you should never have to be told that you are a “good native.”

When you grow up like this and with a family like mine and many others, you can be emotionally angry and function with high-stress levels. But as a child how do you navigate this? How do you know how to work through those BIG emotions? The only way I knew how to, was through sports.

So, that day when I sat there in my living room and pondered about how I was a successful statistic to society, I asked myself how I could help other marginalized children who come from tough homes live a happy life as they age. Throughout my work endeavor’s, I have worked with youth at risk, apprehended youth, disabled individuals, Indigenous youth, and Saskatoon’s most vulnerable population, and I have learnt that connection is the biggest and most vital thing to any relationship. Connection allows individuals to feel wanted and heard, and it fosters a safe space for people to thrive.

How do we expect children to grow up in environments that do not meet their needs? All they need is one person that they can connect with and be their champion!

For those of you who do not know me, I LOVE coaching basketball. Basketball was a way for me when I was a child to get out of the home, build friendships, and, most importantly work through those BIG emotions that I was experiencing. In Saskatoon, I began coaching because I wanted to teach children how to be better at the game but more importantly provide marginalized children with a safe place to go, to thrive, and to build those connections. Sports are an amazing outlet for children to work through their emotions in a healthy way.

As a community, we can do a better job at creating opportunities for our most vulnerable population and marginalized children who do not always have the financial means and access to sports and programming. When these children do have those opportunities to access sport and potentially leave those hostile environments even for a couple of hours, they can work through those BIG emotions through their sport.

We now have some opportunities and programming for our marginalized children which are providing them with those spaces to thrive in and have a sense of belonging. Sports can act as a catalyst to drive our future generation to want to be better than what society tells them that they will be. We want to be unified as one within society, and we should always hope that our children will be better than us. That they will create an even better legacy than the ones we create for ourselves.

We will be marginalized no more! With these opportunities, we will now be seen and heard!

Written by: Brittany Brunn

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