|Sport: Athletics (Track & Field)|
|Program: NAIG, NOSSA|
|Jersey Number: 18|
|Date of Birth: 2001|
|Home Town: Atikameksheng|
|Hobbies: Jingle dress dancing, beading, Volleyball, canoeing, standup paddle boarding, track and field, hockey, tennis, flag football, softball|
|School: St. Charles College|
Hannah Morningstar is a decorated NAIG athlete who is one of the faces of the 2017 North American Indigenous Games. Hannah is also active in her culture and community – she is a jingle dress dancer and was named a head youth dancer for the Atikameksheng and Mississauga First Nation pow wows this past summer. We happily took the opportunity to get to know Hannah more and feature her achievements as an ASWCO featured athlete
ASWCO: How did you develop a passion for your favourite sport?
Hannah Morningstar: Well to begin with my favourite sports would have to be track and field and volleyball. In elementary school, I had a great coach. There was a lot of practices, but Mr. Lariviere really made me develop a love for volleyball. One of the most important things I learned from elementary volleyball is that hard work and dedication pays off. I go to high school out of my district so it was a fresh start for me in Grade 9. I only knew 2 people. But when I started playing volleyball for the school I got to know some really great girls. I loved going to practices, and loved it even more when it was game day. I had another great coach this past volleyball season, Ms. Teale, and she showed us what we can accomplish when we play as a team. All in all, I developed a passion for the sport because of the sisterhood that comes with.
My other favourite sport is track and field. I had some great throwing coaches this year, we worked on technique and I set a couple PB’s in javelin and discus and went to NOSSA. It was pretty cool. And Mr. Moss over at Track North (our track club in Sudbury), has always been a great support when I trained with him.
ASWCO: What kind of preparation do you go through in order to get ready to compete?
HM: There were lots of practices, sometimes we would even have practice at 6:45 am before school would start. With track and field it’s always after school. On the weekends I train on my own for track and field. I take my practice javelin and head out to our Sacred Grounds in Atikameksheng and throw there. It’s very peaceful, good to work on technique.
ASWCO: What’s your long term ambition with your sport?
HM: To possibly play at the college level, definitely to coach.
ASWCO: Clearly your culture is visibly important to you. Can you speak to what your culture means to personally, athletically?
HM: My culture means a great deal to me. I am very proud to be an Anishinaabe kwe. I love to learn my language, I love learning about the medicines, different cultural practices. I really love my jingle dress and to dance, it’s very special, very sacred to me. I sometimes feel as if the culture gives me purpose, it’s a lifestyle.
ASWCO: You’ve actually been featured prominently in a lot of promotional material for the 2017 NAIG. What would it mean to you to be named to Team Ontario for an event like this?
HM: It would mean so much to me to be a part of Team Ontario. I would be very honoured to represent my nation at this level of sport. It’s been so much fun and exciting to be a part of NAIG so far, I hope it continues.
ASWCO: If you could pass along some type of message to young aboriginal athletes that are looking to follow in your footsteps, what would that message be?
HM: My message would be to believe in yourself, follow your dreams. If you believe in yourself and you work hard, and don’t lose sight of your goals, you can make it happen. And I hope our communities support the kids in their dreaming.
If you know a First Nations, Metis, Inuit athlete that you think should be the ASWCO featured athlete please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org