Joannie Halas, PhD
Professor, B.P.E. Program
Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management
212 Active Living Centre
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N2


Dr. Joannie Halas completed her PhD at the University of Alberta in 1999 where she studied interpretive inquiry, postmodern representation, as well as advanced methods in multiple regression. She has a Masters of Science in Kinanthropology (1987) from the University of Ottawa where she worked with Dr. Terry Orlick (of Cooperative Games fame), and a Bachelor of Physical Education from the University of Manitoba (1982). She also has a Teachers' Certificate from the Faculty of Education at the University of Manitoba (1983).

Courses Taught:

1) Culturally Relevant Physical Education and Health
2) Research in Kinesiology and Recreation Studies
3) Developmental Games and Activities

Research Interests:

My research program investigates issues of access to quality and culturally relevant physical education for Aboriginal and other under-represented youth in physical education. Over the past ten years, I have conducted a variety of inter-connected studies, including: An interpretive investigation of the experiences of Aboriginal youth in physical education programs in Manitoba; A community-based, participatory action research project that explored cultural approaches to urban Aboriginal physical activity, sport and recreation;  an investigation of the absence of race and diversity in faculties of physical education across Canada.

My research program intersects with and is informed by my teaching and community work. In these three areas, my work has been informed by Gloria Ladson-Billngs’ theories of culturally relevant pedagogy, and I am working to adapt key elements of culturally relevant teaching to the physical education context. I also use critical race theory and anti-racist education to inform my understanding of how to create more equitable opportunities for all children and youth in physical education. In undertaking this inter-connected work, I address two fundamental questions: 1) how can we recruit and retain more Aboriginal and under-represented groups (e.g., racialized minorities, “newcomer” youth) into the field of physical education (and recreation, kinesiology) and 2) how can we better prepare our majority white European physical education graduates to work well with diverse populations (thus leading to the delivery of more culturally relevant physical education programs for children and youth from diverse backgrounds)?

In order to address these questions, I adopt the approach of a methodological and theoretical ‘bricoleur’ ... drawing upon diverse research methods and theoretical lenses to build a research design that best fits the context of the specific research question.

My current research focuses on the development and delivery of the Aboriginal youth mentorship programs (AYMP), also known as Rec and Read. Working with Indigenous and northern communities and school partners, my research colleagues and I are collectively exploring how to adapt the Rec and Read mentorship model for delivery in diverse First Nations, Metis and northern communities as well as multicultural contexts within Winnipeg.


2014 MacJannet Prize for Global Citizenship  - $7500 first prize for Rec and Read Mentorship Programs

2014 Reh Fit Healthy Living Award – recognizing the volunteer contributions of the Rec and Read High School Mentors

R. Tait MacKenzie Scholars Address at the 2013 PHE Canada national conference

Selected Publications:

Halas, J., McRae, H. & Carpenter, A. (2012). The quality and cultural relevance of physical education for Aboriginal youth: Challenges and opportunities. In J. Forsyth & Audrey Giles (Eds.), Red and White: Aboriginal Peoples and Sport in Canada. (pps. 182-205). Vancouver: UBC Press.

Halas, J. (2014). R. Tait McKenzie Scholar’s Address: Physical and Health Education as a Transformative Pathway to Truth and Reconciliation with Aboriginal Peoples. Physical and Health Education Journal, 79 (3), 41-49.

Douglas, D. & Halas, J. (2011): The wages of whiteness: confronting the nature of ivory tower racism and the implications for physical education, Sport, Education and Society, DOI:10.1080/13573322.2011.602395

Carpenter, A., & Halas, J. (2011). Rec and read mentor programs: Building on the strengths, energy and talents of Aboriginal youth. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 20(1), 20-24.

Halas, J. (2011). Aboriginal youth and their experiences in physical education: “This is what you’ve taught me”. PHENex Journal, 3(2), 1-22.

Halas, J. & van Ingen, C. (2009). Gentle interventions: Reclaiming disengaged youth at an adolescent treatment centre/school. Reclaiming Children and Youth, 18(3), 34-37.

Halas, J. (2009). I am Un-Canadian: (A middle of the night reflection from CAHPERD Conferences past. PHEN/ex Journal, 1 (1). Available at

Halas, J. (1998). “Runners in the gym”: Tales of resistance and conversion at an adolescent treatment center school. Canadian Native Education Journal, 22(2), 210-222.

Thesis Advisor

  1. Amy Carpenter (MA, 2010). Rec and Read: Stories of an Aboriginal Youth Mentor Program.
  2. Gary Thompson (MA, 2009). Inner speech, self-regulation and physical inactivity: Understanding the gap between intention and behaviour.
  3. Helena Baert (MSc, 2008). Wiki & TGfU: A collaborative approach to understanding games education.
  4. Leanne Nazur Bloom (PhD, 2007, Faculty of Education). Assessing adolescent’s responses to a coping skills program: An action research approach to understanding adolescent stress and coping
  5. Louise Champagne (MSc, 2006); Physical Education Teachers as Allies to Aboriginal Students: Dimensions of Social Consciousness.
  6. Carmina Ng (MSc, 2004); Audible breathing and exercise at the ventilatory threshold in youth.
  7. Kellie Livesley (MSc, 2003); Building relationships in sport psychology consulting: Email and other factors.
  8. Julie Booke (MA, 2002); Wilderness education for youth at risk: An interpretive case study.

Supervisory Committee:

  1. Mike Sirant (MA, 2010). Hockey and Coach Education: Perspectives of Aboriginal Coaches from Manitoba’s Interlake Region.
  2. Cameron Johnson (MSc, 2008). Transitioning from high school & collegiate sport: The first-year experience of male CIS volleyball players.
  3. Colleen Plumton (MA, 2005); An exploration of factors involved in choosing recreation as an academic major.
  4. Kim Templeton (MSc, 2004); Experiences of women participating in a reflective, physical activity and social support workshop: Influences on self esteem and body image.
  5. Janelle Johnson (MSc, 2001); Self talk and female youth soccer performance.
  6. Kara DeCorby (MSc, 2001); Factors affecting injury reporting behaviour in male hockey players aged 15-17.

External Examiner

  1. Anne Thompson-Wambua (MEd, 2008, University of Western Ontario). Establishing active lifestyles: How one school’s physical education classes affect adult activity patterns.
  2. Brenda Kalyn (PhD, 2006, University of Alberta). A Healthy Journey: Indigenous Teachings that Direct Culturally Responsive Curricula in Physical Education.
Dr. Joannie Halas