#Team88 ambassador Hannah Morningstar in action during girls’ under-16 javelin at the 2017 North American #Indigenous Games at York University. Morningstar placed bronze in that event and also competed in the 4×400 relay and discus events. (Cameron Perrier/CBC) Cameron Perrier is an associate producer with CBC in Toronto. Raised in the Prairies, he started with CBC as a Joan Donaldson scholar. Proud of his Métis ancestry from Quebec, Cameron aims to highlight Indigenous voices and perspectives.
When Hannah Morningstar throws her javelin spear, she knows her family is always watching. And this time around, they were in the stands, cheering on as she competed at the North American Indigenous Games.
Morningstar placed third in the female under-16 javelin event and also competed in discus and 4×400 relay.
"Discus was a learning experience," she said. "It was actually one of my first times throwing discus in competition. I think I will continue it after; it was extremely fun."
But her bronze medal in javelin is what matters most. Before the games, Morningstar spoke with CBC’s New Fire about her preparations for NAIG, describing her love of javelin and its history throughout her family.
It was evident as she prepared for her preliminary throws, as she jumped and practised her technique with her uncle, Dan Petahtegoose, often exclaiming, "I’m so excited, I can’t wait to throw!" Family pride on the athletics track
For Morningstar’s aunt, Shannon Agowissa, it was important to see her niece at the games.
Agowissa had competed in javelin herself, winning gold at the 1997 NAIG in Victoria. She and her brother introduced Morningstar to javelin and encouraged her to follow in their footsteps.
"It’s actually really great," Agowissa said of her niece’s involvement in javelin. Morningstar reacts to winning third in the girls’ under-16 javelin competition at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games at York University. (Cameron Perrier/CBC) She added that with Morningstar being a NAIG Team88 ambassador, there’s a sense of pride in her entire family and home community of Atikameksheng as she represents reconciliation in competition and through speaking engagements.
For Morningstar’s grandfather, Art Petahtegoose — a gifted athlete himself when he was younger — he sees the impact his granddaughter is having on the community.
"You can really see the influence your success brings to the community," he said.
"This is something I’ve noticed over the years — you see little ones running down the road and saying, ‘I want to be like Art,’ and now you’re hearing, ‘I want to be like Hannah.’" Reconciliation in action
Being an official Team88 ambassador refers to the 88th Call to Action in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report, which recommends using sport as a platform for reconciliation through the development of Indigenous athletes.
Throughout the games this week, Morningstar said she saw nothing but encouragement from the other competitors.
"Even in the discus lineup we were all encouraging each other," she said. "It wasn’t like, ‘Oh I’m going to beat you,’ we were all joking around with each other."
As she went through the games, Morningstar said she saw reconciliation in full display, noting the unity she felt with other Indigenous competitors."Team88 really has been exhibited at the games," she said."We talk about Team88 being as ‘all one,’ and you do see it here. No one’s against each other … everyone is being nice to each other. It’s just great."
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