Despite 20 years of dedicated Sport-for-Development (SFD) theorising, research and practice, Indigenous worldviews remain silenced and positioned at the margins. This is deeply concerning as Indigenous people are frequently the target of deficit-focused SFD initiatives, while at the same time being excluded in decision making.
In transforming the field of SFD, our project will probe, deconstruct and contest current SFD discourse in order to develop a co-constructed, Indigenous-centered, gendered, re-theorised understanding of SFD. Using Indigenous research approach such as Kaupapa Māori Methodology and the Fijian Vanua Framework, case studies will be conducted in Aotearoa and Fiji to shine light on SFD initiatives which are informed by Indigenous viewpoints and align with Indigenous aspirations. Along with observations and in-depth interviews with groups involved in rugby, Iron Māori and outrigger canoeing, we will engage in hui and talanoa and collect thick, deep, narratives. An international survey will provide us with rich quantitative data, while the cases will build a nuanced understanding of different contexts of SFD Indigeneity for the purpose of theorising upwards.