In 2019, I began a project with Dr. Evan Habkirk, who is a Lecturer in Indigenous Studies at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan Campus. We wanted to know what sports and physical activities were mentioned in the Indian Affairs Annual Reports, 1864-1990, and how often each was mentioned so that we could assess the patterns over time. This meant quantitative interests drove our initial enthusiasm for the project.
We hired an undergraduate student at Western, James Caldwell, to help collect and organize the data. Lucky for us, he developed an algorithm to do this work. That saved us incalculable hours because we initially thought the search would need to be done manually.
The project grew quickly after that. In addition to quantifying this history, we wanted to know what was being said about sports and physical activities in the Indian Affairs Reports, and if and how the views changed (or remained the same) over time. James adjusted the program for qualitative data collection, and all of the data was sent to separate excel sheets, one for each sport and physical activity. For quality assurance, James and I then checked each and every mention manually to make sure the date, description, and page number is correct. There may be some errors (after all, we're checking hundreds upon hundreds of entries), but we are sure the data is about as reliable as it can be. I also added additional details, identifying the location and author of each entry.
We are still in the midst of cleaning up the data. Each excel sheet will be posted here, when it is ready for sharing.
Feel free to use this data for your own research. Please cite this webpage as your source, if you do use our work.
This project was funded in part by Western University's Work Study program, as well as the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC 435-2016-0713).