To mark National Indigenous History Month, the Lethbridge Sport Council is showcasing local and national Indigenous athletes through various social media channels in June.
The campaign started in 2017 after the City of Lethbridge released its reconciliation implementation plan. The city’s strategy calls for public education by telling the stories of Indigenous athletes.
“The idea of connecting our youth with our sports stories of the region just seemed like a great fit for Lethbridge Sport Council to be a part of,” Susan Eymann, the executive director of the non-profit organization, said on Wednesday. “Really, [it’s about] the idea that sports successes are inspiring to not only youth, but also to community.”
The organization has shared a wide variety of posts on athletes throughout the month. Some of the current competitors include hockey player Colton Yellow Horn, who plays at the professional level in Austria, and Lethbridge College basketball forward Sini Atoa.
The organization also included legends like 1907 Boston Marathon winner Tom Longboat and Kodiaks basketball player Charlton Weasel Head.
Weasel Head is one of only two Indigenous people to be inducted into the Lethbridge Sports Hall of Fame as an athlete.
Weasel Head dealt with dysfunction in his younger years as both he and his parents spent time in residential schools. In adversity, he knew that sport could be an outlet to a better life.
“What is my avenue of how can I be successful?” Weasel Head said, recounting how he felt when he was younger. “Thankfully, the creator had given me a talent that I’m able to succeed in and that was basketball. I used that throughout my life in junior high, high school and college and university… as a tool to build my skills as a person, a Blackfoot person, and really knowing who I am.”
The Lethbridge Sport Council plans to hold a coaching course for people working with Indigenous youth in the fall. They are also hoping to get funding to hire an Indigenous sports co-ordinator to help more kids connect with sport.