Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am Métis through my matrilineal ancestors and have the privilege of living on the Métis homeland. I am also of Scottish, Irish, and French descent from settlers who have benefited immeasurably from Treaty One land and the hospitality of the original Nations of this territory. I endeavour to tread intentionally, keeping that context at the forefront of my mind in all things.
Growing up in rural Manitoba allowed me the opportunity to try many sport and activities, because the teams and groups weren’t oversaturated. The activities that influenced me the most include dance, figure skating, softball, badminton, basketball, and volleyball. More recently, as my jumping and sprinting muscles age, I have begun to focus on golf: a life long sport that allows me to continue challenging myself technically.
I played volleyball for 4 years at the University of Winnipeg while completing a Bachelor of Science. I was an outside hitter and a setter, depending on the team’s needs in any given season. I was team captain for year 3 and 4. I then went on to study law at the University of Manitoba. I practiced law for a couple years before going back to U of Winnipeg to play my final year of eligibility as a setter at the age of 28. I was also the captain for this season.
I then went on to work on the Legal Team for the National Inquiry in to Missing Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two Spirit People.
I have been the head coach of the Indigenous female volleyball provincial team since 2013. I have also coached “mainstream” provincial teams, including the Manitoba team that won gold at the 2017 Canada Games.
In 2018 I co-founded and continue to manage Agoojin Volleyball: an initiative that offers culturally relevant volleyball programming to Indigenous female and two-spirit athletes and coaches in the province.
I am currently the head coach of the Canadian Mennonite University female volleyball team, am employed as a Policy Analyst for the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, and teach a post-secondary Coaching Theories course.
What is an issue or topic you are passionate about or would like to see changed?
I am passionate about bringing a holistic worldview to sport. In reconnecting with Metis culture and the accompanying Indigenous teachings, I have realized that the typical western sport model, which tends to be linear, goal-specific, and hierarchical, does not satisfy the elements of sport I care about. I have found that making space for the physical abilities of a person, but also the mental, emotional, and cultural aspects of an individual, makes for a more well-rounded and meaningful experience.
My journey in sport as a competitive athlete revolved around peak performance and the need to win. I believe there is space for both of those elements, but they are only co-equal pieces of a greater pie which includes relationship building, inclusivity, safety, fun, mental wellness, and much more.
What specific strategies would you like to see parents, coaches, or sport administrators do to improve diversity in sport or progress your cause?
Hire BIPOC people of the entire gender spectrum in to positions of authority within sport bodies.
Create specific spots for BIPOC people of the entire gender spectrum on boards of directors.
Direct funding to organizations run by and run for BIPOC people of the entire gender spectrum.
Mentor BIPOC people of the entire gender spectrum in coaching and administration.
We all already know what is necessary. Report upon report has resulted in lists of recommendations. It is only a matter whether those currently in power are willing to listen and hear, share and transfer authority, and allocate funding accordingly.
What is your favourite leadership quote?
One of my favourite quotes is: “With your fortune, build a longer table, not a taller fence.”
Another one would be the Indigenous teaching that: “We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.”