The Northern Spirits – Canada’s first Indigenous all-girls football team

Today members of the IAMAW District 14 Human Rights Committee had the honour to bring THe Northern Spirits Football team a donation from our Committee.

he Northern Spirits are Canada’s first Indigenous all-girls football team, I should add, tacklet football team!

Every game I have attended you do see the spirit of these girls, of this team! You can’t count the number of tackles, have seen the ambulance come at two different game, but these ladies still get out there, they are rough and tough and ready to show the world what they have!

“In 2019 none of these girls had ever played football,” says head coach Dylan Elias. “Most of them hadn’t even played a team sport before. So, from the 2019 season then to the 2020 season then to this season, it’s just night and day. It’s unreal how much they’re improved. “

Each game means a round trip of more than 1,000 kilometres for the team from Fort McKay in northeast Alberta to the Capital Region. Representing Fort McKay First Nation is essential for the players, who came up with the team name and designed its unform, which features every individual’s Cree language name on the back and the community name on the front.

“These things are so important to them so that when they walk out there, they feel that pride,” Elias says. “We smudge before every game, so there’s a lot of culture integrated into the game and the routines, and I think they’re just proud to be positive stories of Indigenous women.”

The Northern Spirits have become a tremendous source of pride in their community of 500 residents, who are Cree and Dene heritage. Each time Elias orders new team gear, the requests come from everywhere, from the players’ parents to the chief and council. – Source

The IAMAW District 14 Human Rights Committee was founded in 2023, and in September of 2023 the chair of the Committee Ashley Speer, 1722 RS and District 14 delegate wrote our Districts first Land Acknowledgement.

Land Acknowledgements are not just words they are a promise, they are read at the beginning of every meeting as a reminder to take action.  Reconciliation is not just reading these out and remembering the atrocities, but taking action! Giving back to the indigenous communities, their arts, their sports, their children, and businesses, is a good start, but we can not stop here!

Our Human Rights Committee is also working on educating members on truth and reconciliation, without the knowledge of the past and present we can not continue to move forward into a brighter future together, in Union!

We call upon all Canadian Locals and Districts to take a stand and start supporting reconciliation in their communities, through education, reflection, and building relationships we can find new ways forward.




Learning resources

  • Bringing Our Children Home: Reflecting On Our Shared HistoryIn response to 215 children found buried at the Kamloops (Tk’emlups), Reconciliation Canada hosted a series of gatherings to help people understand our shared history. At each gathering, our expert panelists examine how we are all building the Reconciliation movement, exploring ideas that will help shape the future of Canada.
  • Reconciliation Through EducationThe National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation has a collection of educational resources to support teachers in raising awareness about why residential schools were created, their ongoing legacy, and how these have shaped the country we live in today.
  • Indigenous CanadaThe University of Alberta offers a free online course that explores Indigenous histories and key issues in Canada. This course explores key issues facing Indigenous peoples today from a historical and critical perspective highlighting national and local Indigenous-settler relations.
  • All My RelationsThis podcast explores what it means to be an Indigenous person today and to be engaged in relationships—relationships to land and place, to a nation, to non-human relatives, and to one another. All My Relations is a place to explore these relationships, and to think through Indigeneity in all its complexities.
Updated: 5 May, 2024 — 5:58 pm