'Just Move It' gets P.E.I. aboriginal people physically active
Campaign supports First Nations communities wanting to promote physical activity
An international campaign to get aboriginal people more physically active has come to Prince Edward Island.
The campaign is called 'Just Move It' with events planned across the Island.
Dozens of residents in Scotchfort chose to walk Monday as part of a group exercise, one of hundreds going on in First Nations communities across North America.
Craig MacDougall with the Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. says physical activity can help combat some of the health issues First Nations communities face.
“Diabetes is high within the communities and sports and activity is really good for that,” he said. “That's one of the areas we've been looking at to see if we can introduce this to them so they have an opportunity to be active.”
Sports events and walks were also planned for Abegweit and Lennox Island First Nations.
Although ‘Just Move It’ is a one day event, the Mi'kmaq Confederacy hopes the campaign makes a lasting impact in First Nations communities on P.E.I.
MacDougall says 'Just Move It' day is a launch to expanded athletics program from the Mi'kmaq Confederacy. In particular, he wants to give aboriginal children more chances to play sports.
You never know. Canada Games, even the Olympics there's those opportunities as well. This is just kind of a starting the ball rolling.- Craig MacDougall, Mi'kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I.
“You never know,” he said. “Canada Games, even the Olympics there's those opportunities as well. This is just kind of a starting the ball rolling and if we can make a difference in one kid's life then I think we've done OK.”
Some professionals who work with young people say the encouragement to get active, is lacking in First Nations communities in the province.
“Along the line, the importance of playing outside and exercise might have been lost in society today and I think it's super important that we bring it back,” said Tyler Murphy a child and youth worker.
Barbara Bernard was inspired by Monday’s activity.
“Every nice day I'm going to try to get outside so that's my plan and hopefully I'll stick to it,” she said.
Murphy says they have plans in place to continue with physical activity.
“We're going to partner with early childhood after today and maybe do a walk once a week for the rest of the year. So that's exciting,” he said.