Faculty Publications

Publication Date



Communication Technology and New Media | Community Health | Community Health and Preventive Medicine | Indigenous Studies | Social Media | Sports Management | Sports Studies


Indigenous Peoples have an inherent responsibility and right to “exercising” sovereignty - the practice of sport and physical activity in performance of our cultural, political, and spiritual citizenship (Ali-Joseph 2018). During the COVID-19 pandemic, access to and equity (inequity) in sport and physical activity has been felt (physically, spiritually, politically) within Indigenous communities. We implement an abundance-based Indigenous approach to understanding Indigenous Peoples’ responses to the coronavirus pandemic through sport and its far-reaching ramifications in Indian Country. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen Indigenous Peoples utilize social media such as Facebook and TikTok to reimagine Indigenous sport in digital spaces such as the “Social Distance Powwow” and “Pass the RezBall Challenge.” Utilizing Indigenous ways of knowing, practices of survivance, Indigenous sport scholarship, and Indigenous responses to COVID-19 we describe five protective factors of “exercising” sovereignty that have emerged including community, relationality, strength, abundance, and resilience.

Document Type

Accepted Version


This article is the author-created version that incorporates referee comments. It is the accepted-for-publication version. The content of this version may be identical to the published version (the version of record) save for value-added elements provided by the publisher (e.g., copy editing, layout changes, or branding consistent with the rest of the publication).


This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in Sport and the Pandemic in September 2020, available online: https://www.routledge.com/Sport-and-the-Pandemic-Perspectives-on-Covid-19s-Impact-on-the-Sport-Industry/Pedersen-Ruihley-Li/p/book/9780367616656.

Original Citation

Kelsey Leonard, Natalie Welch, & Alisse Ali Joseph
Covid-19 in Indigenous communities: Five protective factors of “exercising” sovereignty.
In Sport and the Pandemic: Perspectives on COVID-19's Impact on the Sport Industry, edited by Paul M. Pedersen, Brody J. Ruihley, & Bo Li
2020, pages 236-246, Routledge: New York



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