Janice Forsyth, member of the Fisher River Cree Nation, is a Professor in the Faculty of Education, School of Kinesiology, at the University of British Columbia and a recognized leader in Indigenous sport development in Canada. Her work combines historical, sociological, archival, and big-data methodologies to explore how EuroCanadian sports and physical activities have been used as tools for colonization and how Indigenous people have responded to those efforts by using their own understandings of sports and physical activities for cultural regeneration and survival. Her list of contributions to these areas is extensive, including more than 140 publications, scholarly presentations, invited talks, and keynote addresses to academic and lay audiences nationally and internationally.
She has authored and co-edited a number of books, including Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada: Historical Foundations and Contemporary Issues, published in 2013; Reclaiming Tom Longboat: Indigenous Self-Determination in Canadian Sport, published in 2020; and more recently, Decolonizing Sport, released in 2023. Recognition of her work comes in many forms, including her 2017 election to the College of the Royal Society of Canada, and, in 2023, being named one of two national recipients for PHE Canada's R. Tait McKenzie Award. She is also highly committed to public service, with more than 20 years volunteering for the non-profit sector. Of note, she is currently the President of OPHEA and Vice-President for the national Aboriginal Sport Circle of Canada.
Dr. James Makokis is a pioneering Nehiyô (Neh-hee-yo) two-spirit physician hailing from the Onihcikiskapowinihk (Saddle Lake Cree Nation) in Treaty Number Six Territory. He maintains a Family Medicine practice in Kinokamasihk (Kih-no-kum-a-sick) Cree Nation in northeastern Alberta and runs a transgender health-focused practice in South Edmonton. Dr. Makokis was the inaugural Medical Director of Shkaabe Makwa (Shkaa-bay Muh-kwa) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto—the country's first Indigenous health center committed to transforming Indigenous mental health systems nationwide.
In 2019, Dr. Makokis, alongside his husband Anthony Johnson, made history as the first Two-Spirit couple to be crowned champions of the Amazing Race Canada. As "Team Ahkameyimok" (Ah-ka-may-mook), which translates to "Never Give Up" in Cree, they became the first two-spirit, Indigenous, married couple in the world to win the competition. Dr. Makokis’ impact was further recognized in 2020 when The Medical Post named him one of the country's 30 most influential physicians—a title he humbly suggests should be shared amongst others. As a regular guest and a respected voice in the media, Dr. Makokis uses his platforms to educate people about Treaty issues and advocate for the revitalization of the Nehiyô medical system. His overarching vision is for a united Turtle Island, in peace and friendship.
Bruce Kidd is the Ombudsperson and a Professor Emeritus of Sports Policy at the University of Toronto. He has spent his lifetime researching, teaching about and advocating for equitable, accessible, daily, quality physical education. As founding dean of U of T’s Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education, he integrated once separate undergraduate, graduate and athletic and recreation programs and implemented a systematic approach to gender equity.
Bruce has worked with numerous local, national, and international bodies to advance opportunities for physical activity and sport. An Olympian, a Commonwealth champion in the 6 miles at the 1962 Games, Bruce is a two-time Canada’s Male Athlete of the Year and a member of multiple sports Halls of Fame. His accolades include the Canadian Olympic Order, Lifetime Achievement Awards from several academic and sports bodies, and an appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada. His most recent book, written with Ann Hall of the University of Alberta and Patricia Vertinsky of the University of British Columbia is Educating the Body: A History of Physical Education in Canada. In 1999, he received the CAHPERD Scholars’ Award.
R. Tait McKenzie Scholar Address
Reg Leidl's deep knowledge, passion, and commitment for quality physical education has manifested into an accomplish career a Saskatchewan teacher, principal, curriculum writer, consultant, coach, and Board Member on provincial and national physical and health education associations and organizations. Reg currently supports the personal and professional development of aspiring undergraduate student teachers by sharing his expertise as a Sessional Lecturer in the area of health and physical education at the First Nations University of Canada. Reg has an extensive background in physical education, physical literacy, sport psychology, coaching, and educational leadership. His grassroots perspective continually supports the role of teachers and coaches as they strive to support physical literacy and physical education within our schools and communities. Reg is a past recipient of the North American Society Award in 2019 and is currently the Executive Director for Physical and Health Education (PHE) Saskatchewan.