Ted Fontaine posthumously inducted into North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame

A tireless advocate, residential school survivor and accomplished hockey player has been posthumously inducted into the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame.

Morgan Fontaine, holding the Sagkeeng hockey jersey of her late husband Theodore Niizhotay Fontaine, said he would not have believed the honour.

“Even in many other successes of his life, he was a very humble man,” she told CTV News. “He was always a little bit astonished at his own success.”

Fontaine died in May 2021 at the age of 79-years-old.

In early February, the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame (NAIAHF) announced the Anishinaabe hockey player was being posthumously inducted.

The NAIAHF said, “Theodore’s leadership and success through activism and writing are his legacy for Indigenous truth and equity in Canada.”

Morgan said Fontaine, who was a survivor of the Fort Alexander and Assiniboia Indian Residential Schools, started playing hockey as a child.

“He said from all the abuses at the Fort Alexander School, that little bit of playing hockey and dreaming of hockey is what got him through that,” she said, adding even as a young adult Fontaine was plagued with nightmares, flashbacks and trauma from the abuses he suffered while at the schools.

“He started playing hockey, and he went all over Western Canada playing senior hockey with different teams just trying to survive.”

NAIAHF said Fontaine had signed a contract to play hockey with the Detroit Red Wings, but gave up the opportunity due to racism.

But Fontaine continued to succeed Morgan said, graduating in civil engineering and pursing a professional life primarily in the service of First Nations people. That included serving as chief and knowledge keeper of Sagkeeng First Nation and working 11 years with the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.

Morgan said her husband continued to play hockey, playing 10 years with the Sagkeeng Oldtimers hockey team, competing against teams across Europe and North America. The team won three World Cups.

“They attributed their success more to the fact that they had overcome those damages of residential schools and they had the strength of character and the determination to prove that they would be just as good – they could be just as good or better than any other hockey team,” Morgan said.

She said she is proud of Fontaine for everything he did, both on and off the ice. 

View original article here Source