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Aboriginal Sport Circle – Today we honor the cultural diversity of our First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples and celebrate the many accomplishments of our Indigenous People

We call upon all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations to provide education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history. TRC Call to Action #87.

Tom Longboat

Tom Longboat was an Onondaga distance runner from the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation reserve. Largely because of his ability to dominate any race and his spectacular finishing sprints, he was one of the most celebrated athletes before the First World War. In 1955, Tom was inducted into Canada’s Sport Hall of Fame. Each year, the Aboriginal Sport Circle and Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame award the Tom Longboat award to Indigenous athletes for their outstanding contributions to sport in Canada.

The 2017 winners of the prestigious Tom Longboat Award.  James Lavallee (MB) is named the male Aboriginal athlete of year and Joy Spearchief-Morris (AB) is named female Aboriginal athlete of year. The Tom Longboat Awards were established in 1951 to recognize Aboriginal athletes for their outstanding contributions to sport in Canada. The Awards provide a forum for acknowledging the growth and strength of the Aboriginal sport movement in Canada and its’ tremendous impact on sport development from community level participation to elite level competition.

James Lavallee is a member of the Junior National Canoe/Kayak team, a proud Metis, loves the outdoors and is currently studying Environmental Science at the University of Manitoba. 

“James Lavallee demonstrates daily the positive attributes of being a leader. James quietly leads by example and speaks volumes by his actions” explained Dave Anderson, Team Manitoba Canada Games head coach.  “James has a deep respect for all aspects of his sport.  As James has grown, he has become more aware of his heritage and embraced it.  This self-awareness of who he is seems fitting for someone in a water sport, as his respect for the environment plays a daily role in his life.”

Joy Spearchief-Morris is a role model both on and off the field.  She is both a multi-sport athlete and track and field champion, recently graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in History and minor in First Nations Studies from University of Western Ontario, is Academic All-Canadian student athlete and is an active volunteer within the Indigenous community.

“On the track she was an OUA 1st team All-star and CIS 1st team All-Canadian multiple years.  She has also found time to volunteer where she is most passionate and has been an incredible role model to indigenous youth”, described Vickie Croley, Head Track and Field Coach, Western University.

The 2018 Tom Longboat awards (one male and one female) will be presented at the Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on October 18th in Toronto, Ontario.