An avid athlete, Hannah has competed for her high school in volleyball, tennis, flag football, and track and field, including cross country. She also has competed in the little NHL for her community, the Atikameksheng Eagles, and plays for the Sudbury Girls Hockey Association. Reflecting on her involvement in sport, Hannah credits the meaningful friendships, the personal challenges and the sense of a strong community that sport provides as motivation for being involved.
As a Team 88 ambassador, Hannah evokes the meaning behind the North American Indigenous Games movement, which seeks to inspire youth in building positive pathways for themselves and their communities through involvement in culture, sport and recreation. In realizing the importance of sport and culture in building strong communities, Hannah hopes to continue to travel as a jingle dress dancer, sharing in her in culture, and to one day become a coach to guide the next generation of athletes. Realizing the importance of role models for youth in sport, Hannah shared some advice as a past North American Indigenous Games athlete, “You just have to choose to grow in a good way and not lose sight of your goals.”
One of the greatest moments in Hannah’s sport career has been the moment she came from the Regina 2014 NAIG with her teammates from the Atikameksheng community. They arrived back to the community in time for the traditional powwow and received a warm welcome from the elders, kids and community members who congratulated them on having competed in the North American Indigenous Games. Hannah recalled feeling an immense feeling of pride in this moment, being congratulated by her community and lead into the powwow arena with an honour song.
Hannah is also an active in her culture and community – she is a jingle dress dancer and was named as head youth dancer for the Atikameksheng and Mississauga First Nation pow wows this past summer. Keeping culture alive is important to Hannah, so she tries to learn as much as she can from her family and papa, Art Petahtegoose, to be able to learn and pass on these traditions. Learning how to make split ash baskets and dedication to learning her language are both things that take time but are well worth it to Hannah, in keeping her culture and community alive.
Sharing in her love of sport and her community, Hannah supports the strength that can come from involvement in both athletics and culture. To Hannah, the importance of storytelling is not only important in culture – but also in sport, as stories from other Indigenous athletes help to guide the next generation and let them know that they too can make their dreams a reality.