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Volleyball player Kawehnokwiio Bailey Thompson, left, from Akwesasne standing with her grandmother, Nancy Jacobs, who is her volleyball coach. (Supplied by Kahnastatsi Nancy Jacobs ) A love of sports runs in the blood of Akwesasne volleyball player Kawehnokwiio Bailey Thompson, who will be competing at this year’s North American Games with team Eastern Door and the North.

From lacrosse, to hockey, to swimming and running, Thompson said that almost everyone in her family plays at least one sport. There are even a few people from her family who have made the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame.

But the pressure to live up to her family’s sporty reputation doesn’t bother Thompson.

"It really motivates me to get up there and make my name known — like how [my relatives] are," said 18-year old Thompson.

Playing both hockey and volleyball, Thompson hopes to move onto University-level hockey, but for the North American Indigenous Games, she is following in her grandmother’s footsteps by competing in volleyball.

Volleyball is very popular in Akwesasne, and Thompson said it’s all thanks to her grandmother, Kahnastatsi Nancy Jacobs, who introduced the sport in 1978 to the community.

"My grandma actually brought volleyball to our reservation decades ago," said Thompson. "She played and taught everyone here." Introduced sport to Akwesasne

Kahnastatsi Nancy Jacobs first learned how to play volleyball when she was in high school in Cornwall, Ont. Even though she played a bunch of different sports, there was something about volleyball that always drew her back.After high school she attended Centennial College in Toronto, where she played for the school’s volleyball team.When she returned home to Akwesasne in 1978, she realized that people in the community didn’t know how to play volleyball, so she decided to teach the sport and create a co-ed league."We didn’t have much of anything, […]

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