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Educational Keynote

Presenter: Alwyn Morris

Order of Sport Recipient and Hall of Famer

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A member of the Turtle Clan from the Mohawk Nation of Kahnawake, Alwyn Morris not only raised the bar in competitive canoe-kayak sprint, his Olympic Gold Medal performance inspired a nation and made him one of the most influential Indigenous athletes of all time.

In the world of canoe-kayak sprint, Alwyn Morris’s first major accomplishment was winning the Canadian National Junior Championships in 1975. This was a sign of great things to come, as between 1980 and 1984 he won six consecutive Canadian Championships. Over the course of his career, he would medal at many World Championships winning a Silver medal in 1982 and a Bronze medal in 1983, and made history at the 1984 Olympic Games by becoming the first Indigenous athlete to win a Gold Medal representing Canada. It was a touching moment for all Indigenous people to see Alwyn standing on top of the podium and even more touching as he raised in his left hand, high in the air, an Eagle Feather to commemorate his grandfather and serve as a proud tribute to his Mohawk ancestry... Read More.


Emcee: James Lavallée

2017 Tom Longboat Award Recipient

When canoe-kayak sprint athlete James Lavallée won three medals at the Canada Summer Games, he proudly wore his Métis sash on the podium. In 2016, he was named to Canada’s national canoe-kayak sprint team. In 2017, James Lavallée received the Tom Longboat Award, which was established in 1951 to recognize Indigenous athletes for their outstanding contributions to sport in Canada. It remains the longest standing and one of the most prestigious awards for Indigenous athletes in the country. Lavallée was also a member of the 2019 Canadian delegation to the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, where participants from around the world discussed how to generate, transmit and protect traditional knowledge... Read More.


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