The North American Indigenous Games is the largest continental sporting and cultural gathering of Indigenous people. This year from July 16 – 23rd, Toronto will host more than 5,000 athletes, 2,000 volunteers and a countless number of spectators and dignitaries from across North America. In celebration of the thousands of Indigenous women representing Canada on the ice, court, and field, we’re profiling a few young athletes who are proving what Canada’s Indigenous young women are capable of. Meet Bailey Thomas, a hockey player with big goals on and off the ice.
My chosen sport is… I am pursuing hockey but I love volleyball, I’m not quite sure if I like it more, but I feel like I do just because I know I can improve my abilities in the sport.
I decided to pursue athletics because… I love competition and living an active lifestyle.
My proudest accomplishment is… receiving the OVA (Ontario Volleyball Association) Provincials Excellence Award.
Participating in the NAIG is important to me because… My family has been participating in the tournament since it has existed. Also, I like to bring my best to the table to play against my fellow indigenous peers and prove that we are just as good competition as any other.
My best advice from a coach was… Work the hardest, no matter how goofy you think you look, you’ll always look the best.
My biggest setback was… Last year when I didn’t make the junior team i wanted to in Ottawa.
I overcame it by… After the tryout I was devastated because it seemed like my only chance to get noticed by a D1 school, but my last tournament of last year I continued to work as hard as possible in the NAHC (National Aboriginal Hockey Championships) and I was scouted by an even better junior team in Toronto.
I stay focused by… Always working towards my goals every single day.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… That I am a concert fanatic. I’ve been to 48 concerts in my lifetime.
I stay inspired by… Always knowing that there is room to improve on the ice, on the court, in the gym, at home, and in the classroom.
The future excites me because… Anything imaginable can happen.
I want to show the world that… Indigenous people are still here, and thriving.
My next step is… Winning at NAIG.