First Nations players make presence known during Canada Games
- Marjorie Roden | September 12, 2017
During the Canada Games held in Winnipeg in early August, Team Sask had a definite First Nations presence in the form of two of their strong players, Alan Spoonhunter from Saskatoon, and Jett Kowalchuk from Moose Jaw.
“Both sides of my family are Native, it’s a big part of me,” said Spoonhunter, who towers at 6’4” and hails from the Tobacco Plains First Nation, but now resides in Saskatoon with his family. “It’s not something I hide. I like to represent, and I have a lot of pride in my ancestry.”
Spoonmaker is a product of the St. Joseph’s High School basketball program, he says “I like St, Joe’s. It’s a good environment and there’s a lot of good people.”
Spoonmaker has also participated in other elite basketball events including the 2017 MVP Adidas Top 40 Camp in Regina this past April. Speaking about the influence his First Nations’ background has had on his basketball career at his high school, Spoonmaker stated, “I get accepted pretty well, and it doesn’t make much difference. We all show a lot of pride when playing. For me, I play the best for
my family and community.”
When asked about the Aboriginal presence at the Canada Games in Winnipeg, Spoonmaker immediately responded, “I’ve actually met a few other Aboriginal people here. There’s another player on my team, Jett Kowalchuk, he’s Metis. It’s pretty cool!”
“There was a lot of Aboriginal influence at the games,” added 6’5” Metis basketball player Kowalchuk, “There was a lot of Aboriginal music, presentations, and stuff!”
When talking about the experience of the Canada games overall, Kowalchuk said, “Every aspect of it was just great. The ceremonies….it was just a great environment.”
Like Spoonmaker, Kowalchuk has had a high school career in basketball.
“I play high school basketball at Peacock (Collegiate) in Moose Jaw, then I also go to Regina and Saskatoon to train with Team Sask. I think I’ll be playing post-secondary basketball (in the future).”
Both players, who are 16 years of age, will be attending their respective high schools starting in early September where they continue with their high school basketball careers.