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Indigenous services showcased during Little NHL tournament

Indigenous services were showcased during the recent Little Native Hockey League (NHL) tournament.

Several Indigenous information centres and services were represented at Angus Glen Community Centre during the recent Little NHL tournament.

Included were Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation, Nipissing First Nation Health Services and Ontario First Nations Young Peoples Council. Three spokespersons were interviewed from three different organizations.

Cheryl Macumber

Cheryl Macumber of “Quilts for Survivors” explained that her daughter, Vanessa Génier had founded the organization when the unmarked graves at a residential school were discovered in British Columbia in 2021. At the time, Génier’s goal was to make eighteen quilts with 250 blocks to distribute to families affected by the tragedy. When a Facebook page was created, it drew attention from around the world. Quilts and materials were donated from the Netherlands, England, Germany, Australia and New Zealand. Macumber explained that the waiting list for the quilts is long enough that it takes just over a year for families and friends affected by the residential schools to receive them. Macumber is Missanabie Cree.

Kevin and Mint Sandy

Kevin Sandy brought lacrosse to the community centre. He clarified that the proper name for lacrosse is “The Creator’s Game” and as far as he knows, it is the oldest game in the world. The sticks made by his cousin and used in the sport are made of Shagbark Hickory, a hardwood. The sticks are perfectly balanced and made for skillful use and accuracy. He says that The Creator’s Game is engrained in their way of life. Sandy is Haudenosaunee, people of the longhouse.

Stephen Tooshkenig, an Indigenous business advisor for Indigenous Tourism, Ontario explained that he and his organization aim to revitalize Indigenous culture through community-based events such as Little NHL. Through the hockey tournament, which includes 133 communities, he promotes indigenous understandings. For example, understanding of the land, medicine, food and lacrosse. The motto of his organization is “Establishing a platform for Indigenous cultural experience and revitalization.” Tooshkenig recalled the advice of his Mi’kma elder and says he takes a “two-eyed approach” that combines a Western and Indigenous cultural way of knowing. He is from Walpole Island First Nation.

The various organizations supporting the Little Native Hockey League tournament offered the public an interactive, educational experience. Macumber displayed traditional medicines of sage, sweet grass, cedar and tobacco. Sandy had a net and stick handy to teach children how to throw. Tooshkenig and his friends provided an introduction and explanation of how Indigenous culture is revitalized through sports.

 

Main photo: Stephen Tooshkenig and Rae-Anna Whiteduck. *Story and photos submitted by Andrew Fuyarchuk.

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