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First Nations and Inuit Launch New National Fitness Initiative – Just Move It Canada

on March 19, 2012

March 19, 2012

OTTAWA, ON – Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) President Mary Simon, together with champions of Indigenous fitness and wellness from across Canada, today announced the launch of an online, community-based physical activity and wellness initiative aimed at improving health and fitness among Indigenous communities in Canada.  

The first of its kind in the country, Just Move It – Canada will chronicle new and existing initiatives, programs or projects promoting physical activity and wellness in First Nation and Inuit communities – driven by or aimed at, but not limited to, First Nation and Inuit cultures and traditions.  

“Healthy communities are thriving communities, and Just Move It will help showcase existing and new community-based initiatives toward achieving health and wellness among our peoples,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo.  “Just Move It is much more than an online tool. It is part of a national movement and growing momentum among Indigenous peoples to work together to maintain healthy, active lifestyles as a key component to our progress and success. This work will also supplement ongoing partnership opportunities through the IndigenACTION movement.”

“Whether it’s -50 degrees in our beautiful winter or +20 in summer I encourage Inuit to go outside, enjoy nature, and ‘Just Move it’ by engaging in traditional Inuit activities, recreational sports leagues, or going to the community centre,” said National Inuit Leader Mary Simon President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. “There are plenty of ways to stay fit based on our traditional and modern activities. Let’s all get fit and stay fit.”

Originated by Healthy Native Communities Partnership (HNCP) in the United States, Just Move It is a web-based campaign promoting physical activity and showcasing grassroots fitness and wellness projects and initiatives by or among Indigenous peoples and communities. Growing strength by working together, Just Move It partners share stories, teachings, plans, tools and support through a web-based networking tool built by, and for Indigenous peoples.

“We are really excited to see Just Move It expand to include First Nations and Inuit communities from Canada”, said David Reede, HNCP Executive Director, “ Indigenous communities are stronger when we share our wisdom and learnings about what is working for wellness.“

Community fitness and wellness champions from across the country are gathered in Ottawa this week for a two-day workshop, where they’ll share experiences and help shape the future of Just Move It in Canada.  Workshop participants will discuss creative ways to promote success stories through digital storytelling and other technology and develop strategies to engage others to become active.  

“I want to congratulate the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Healthy Native Communities Partnership on the launch of Just Move It in Canada,” said Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq.  “We applaud this new interactive tool that improves awareness of physical activity and wellness, and motivates people to make healthy choices.”

This week’s workshop, supported in part by Health Canada and the National Aboriginal Diabetes Association, kicks off the partnership between AFN, ITK and Just Move It founding organization HNCP.

For more information about Just Move It – Canada please visit www.justmoveit.org/jmicanada

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nation citizens in Canada.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is the national Inuit organization representing all Inuit in Canada.

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Media Contacts:

Assembly of First Nations:  Alain Garon, AFN Bilingual Communications Officer 613-241-6789, ext 382 or cell: 613-292-0857 or [email protected]

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami: Patricia D’Souza, Senior Communications Officer: 613/292-4482 or [email protected]

Healthy Native Communities Partnership: Tina Tso, Adminstrator : 505-368-7429 or [email protected].org

Angie TurnerFirst Nations and Inuit Launch New National Fitness Initiative – Just Move It Canada