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Manitoba Indigenous Sport Legacy Given Fresh Emphasis in New Book

The untold stories of Manitoba's Indigenous sportsmen are finally being put to paper - literally.

Windspeaker reports that authors Scott Taylor and Carriera Lamoureux, working at the behest of the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Council, will be producing the aptly titled "A History of Excellence – The Untold Stories Of Manitoba’s Indigenous Sport." The introduction will be written by Janice Forsyth, a member of Fisher River Cree Nation in Manitoba and an Indigenous sports historian.

“One of those pieces was their desire to let the world know that Indigenous people in Manitoba have always excelled in sport, despite the many obstacles they faced,” Forsyth wrote in her introduction. “Sharing these stories is important.

“It shows us where Indigenous sporting experiences overlap and where they diverge, revealing the many different pathways participants have taken to become involved in sport, and the different ways they have woven sport into their lives. Equally, if not more importantly, this book also makes their stories visible to a wider audience.”

Among those figures profiled are Reggie Leach and Joseph Keeper.

The former, a hockey player for the Philadelphia Flyers in 1975, aided in capturing the Stanley Cup.

Leach is a member of Berens River First Nation in Manitoba and resides at the Aundeck Omni Kaning First Nation on Manitoulin Island in Ontario.

The latter was a runner from the Norway House Cree Nation who represented Canada at the 1912 Olympics in the men’s 5000-metres, where he finished fourth, and the men’s 10,000-metre event.

“Keeper’s running career came to an end with the onset of World War 1,” Lamoureux said. “In 1916, before the start of the Summer Olympic Games, Keeper voluntarily enlisted in the Canadian military.”

Lamoureux told Windspeaker about the importance of telling their stories:

“Although these moments may not be recognized until after their effects have been felt, their impact is everlasting, inspiring new generations of coaches, athletes and builders to continue sharing their voices and cultures with the world.”
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