In Affiliation, CrossFit

January 02, 2012

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This affiliate is the first on a First Nations reservation in Canada, and it’s giving new fitness options to the country’s indigenous people. Emily Beers reports.

There’s no point in sugarcoating the truth: Life for many indigenous people in Canada is rough.

Diseases like diabetes are four times more prevalent among the indigenous population than the rest of the country. Life expectancy on a reservation is eight years less in men and five and a half years less in women. Suicide rates are also three times as high among indigenous people. Alcoholism is rampant and so is obesity. And proper nutrition is often not understood, let alone followed.

Despite federal incentives and funding to improve the living conditions and health of First Nations people, year after year statistics show that, as a whole, they rank low in most socio-economic measurements.

But on at least one First Nations reservation in Canada, you’ll find a group who are tired of the blame game, tired of spending time analyzing exactly why and how their people got where they are today. The members of this group are choosing to take problems into their own hands and are committing to improving their lives.

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9 Comments on “CrossFit Akwesasne: Done With the Blame Game”


wrote …

Tyler, what you are doing is quite simply fantastic. Your attitude about moving forward and not playing the blame game is great and I wish that more people throughout this country of ours would stop playing the blame game and move forward regardless of the circumstances that led them to their current position.
I also like the fact that you are starting to break the cycle by working with the children of the community. Keep it up. Bruce Young


wrote …

I just spent a month in Tuba City, AZ., on a Navajo reservation, I have to admit I was a little taken aback by the conditions that the First Nation people are living in.

Tyler, I think what you are doing is fantastic and that moving on is essential to bringing health and well-being to First Nation people. Although I do not suggest that the blame game should continue. I also believe that it is high time this country acknowledge it's history, and the devastating affect it's had on the Native American people.

With that, I encourage you to continue to educate your people, our people, so that we can all lives with dignity and mutual respect.



wrote …

Great work. Thank you.


wrote …

Really enjoyed this read! Fantastic story and positive things happening! It's a sad tale how many indigenous populations have ended up all over the world (Maori's/Australian Aboriginals/Native Americans). From being the ideal hunter/gatherers with sound nutrition to being introduced to the worst things of the western diet sugar and booze. Problems are very similar and tragic. Great job Emily! My favourite read from your steadily building catalogue.


replied to comment from Bruce Young

Thanks Bruce. Tough love is the only way.


wrote …

FYI... The organization that 'feeds' me so to speak which is 'MCA' or Mohawk Council gets it's money from Canadian Diabetes. What's interesting is that Diabetes Canada follows the Food Pyramid or 'Rainbow' if you live in Canada. So over the years I wasn't 'supposed' to even speak the word paleo or give my philosophy on food..

Things are different now due to the people of Akwesasne also seeing the vision and wanting to make real change within their community. They understand what gives 'actual' results and have learned that understanding their health through re-education is a must.


Cole Rashmi wrote …

Wonderful. Congratulations on starting Crossfit where it has never gone before. I love reading articles like this. While our circumstances are a bit different we were the first Crossfit Affiliate in India, started at an orphanage in rural surroundings. Our children have discovered confidence and athletic success through our Crossfit program. They have learned to not be victims of their circumstances, instead they work "to get it done". I wish you the best, Keep doing what you are doing, only good things can come from it.


wrote …

This is an amazing dream come true for many Aboriginal inner athletes waiting to reveal themselves. As Aboriginal people we talk alot of loss of power due to historic racism, intergenrational violence and the abuse we do to our bodies. Through Crossfit and Paleo eating we are taking that power back. A healthier, fitter community gives way to a better world for everyone in it! Congrats from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan!


wrote …

Its a growing dream of mine to start a CrossFit gym on a Native American reservation. My heart really goes out to these people and I think the difference I could make with CrossFit would be phenomenal. However, I can't do it all by myself. Any interests? Ideas? I'm serious!

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