As I write on National Indigenous Peoples Day, I am reminded of one of my brief brushes with fame. When I was 19 my family attended the 100th anniversary of the St. Francis Mission (Rosebud Educational Society) in South Dakota some 30 plus years ago. My father, who was the principal of the high school there when I was but a wee lad, was invited to the event. Although I honestly did not fully understand the significance of the occasion I got to meet Billy Mills (Tamakoce Te’Hila), still the only 10,000 metre Olympic gold medal winner from all of the Americas. Mills was a super humble person then as he was in his super dramatic upset of the 10 Kilometer, 1964 Olympics in Tokyo.
Congratulations to Halli Morningstar (daughter of M’Chigeeng’s Tanya Debassige) who was the winner of the Indigenous sport and wellness Future Heroes award. Playing sports grounded her in confidence, leadership, self-esteem and helped her make friends from diverse backgrounds. Halli started playing hockey as a player, but during the Little NHL tournament she volunteered to be a goalie, and has been playing goalie since.
Halli is a team leader and is always cheering on her teammates. She is enthusiastic. Halli works with school-age children in the after school program and participates in additional courses like CPR, Mental Health First Aid and Suicide Prevention.
During the pandemic, Halli and some of her colleagues used their own money to purchase Christmas gifts for their students. Halli has also volunteered for scorekeeping at school events.
Halli doesn’t have a specific sports hero, but she looks up to her grandfather, whom she calls papa. Her papa is retired and continues to play hockey at the age of 72 (Adam Debassige, a former captain of the Manitowaning Federals). Her papa has always supported Halli by watching her play sports.
“From a coach’s perspective, Halli is a hardworking, dedicated, and positive team leader. Halli was always eager to get onto the field and help her team to victory. Halli was a team captain that her teammates looked to for support and encouragement.” – Coach
A good sport is good for sports.