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  • Nomination | NAIAHF

    Introduction: The North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame (NAIAHF) honors and recognizes the indigenous sport cultures of 27 countries of North America by recognizing outstanding leadership and achievement in individual and team athletics. By honoring and celebrating the empowered journey of the annually inducted individuals and teams, the hope is their stories may inspire future generations to follow their dreams in athletics and life. Nomination Process: Nominations for individuals and teams to be considered for induction into the annual North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame are accepted throughout the course of the year until the October 21st noon central time deadline. Nominations are accepted for individuals or teams in the following categories: • Athlete • Coach • Team • Builder • Media • Official • Trainer Inductee eligibility: Inductees are recognized and honored, past and present, as Indigenous to North America including but not limited to Tribal, First Nation, Métis, Inuit including federally recognized and self-identified descendant in the listed categories throughout the year. Inductee’s may also be considered who are indigenous to North America and compete outside of North American and those who are indigenous outside of North America and compete in North America. The inductee’s credentials need to include being at the highest state, provincial, region, national or international sport recognition, and/or being recognized in college or professional athletic realms. To receive a nomination form or for additional information, contact Dr. Dan Ninham at 218.368.6430 (text preferred) or m . The annual nomination deadline is noon central time on October 21st for the next year induction. The inductee’s credentials need to include being at the highest state, provincial, region, national, international sport recognition, and/or being recognized in college or professional athletic realms. Induction Recognition: There may be a virtual banquet recognition to be determined. There will not be a hall of fame facility or in person awards banquet. Each inductee will receive a certificate. The stories of the inductees will be produced in online print and video in addition to being in a curriculum to be provided to schools and recreation communities. The induction announcement will be made on January 2nd of each induction class year.

  • NAIAHF Athletes

    Athletes Aidan Howry Comanche Read More Alexis Desjarlait Red Lake Band of Ojibwe Read More Alvin Begay Jr. Navajo Read More Alwyn Morris Kahnawake Mohawk Read More Amber Hill Upper Cayuga Read More Angel Goodrich United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians Read More Angelo Baca Diné/Hopi Read More Autumn Apok Ridley Inupiaq and Tlingit Read More Awehiyo Thomas Cayuga Read More Ayanna O’Kimosh Oneida/Menominee/Arikara Read More Barry Powless Onondaga Read More Becki Wells-Staley Blackfeet and Blood Read More Billy Mills Oglala Lakota Read More Brady Fairbanks Leech Lake Ojibwe Read More Brent Reiter Menominee Read More Briana Mazzolini-Blanchard CHamoru Read More Carol L. (Pickett) Hull Inupiaq Read More Carolyn Darbyshire-McRorie Metis Read More Cheri Madsen Omaha Read More Clay Mayes III Chickasaw & Cherokee Read More Dale McCourt Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg Read More Dani Day Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Read More David Powless Oneida Read More Dean Hill Mohawk Read More Delby Powless Mohawk Read More Donny Belcourt Chippewa Cree Read More Dr. Chuck Foster Navajo Read More Dr. Gregory Redhouse Diné Read More Drew Bucktooth Onondaga Read More Earl Sargent Red Lake Band of Ojibwe Read More Eddie Lone Eagle Red Lake Ojibwe Read More Edison Eskeets Navajo Read More Elizabeth (Liz) Mary Duval Metis Read More Ernie Stevens Jr. Oneida Read More Evan James Métis and Dene Read More Frederick George Sasakamoose Plains Cree (nêhiyawak) Read More Gary Sargent Red Lake Ojibwe Read More George Armstrong Algonquin (Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg) Read More George “Comanche Boy” Tahdooahnippah Comanche Read More Gewas Schindler Oneida Read More Glenn Styres Mohawk Read More Henry Boucha Ojibwe Read More J.R. Conrad Eastern Shawnee Read More Jack Powless Oneida Read More James Francis Thorpe Sac and Fox Read More James Lavallée Métis Read More James Nells Navajo Read More James Walker Standing Rock Lakota/Dakota Read More Jana Williams Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Read More Janee’ Kassanavoid Comanche Nation of Oklahoma Read More Jayme Menzies Métis Read More Jeff Shattler Ojibwa Read More Jesse Cockney Inuit Read More Jesse Frankson Inupiaq Eskimo Read More Jim "Jake" Maloney Sipe’kneketik First Nation, Nova Scotia, Canada Read More Jim Neilson Big River First Nation Read More Jim Warne Jr Oglala Lakota Read More Joe Hipp Blackfeet Read More Jonathan Cheechoo Moose Cree First Nation Read More Joseph Burton, Jr Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians Read More Joy SpearChief-Morris Blackfoot (Kanai) Read More Kali “KO” Mequinonoag Reis Seaconke Wampanoag Read More Kalley Armstrong Algonquin (Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg) Read More Katie Taylor Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Read More Kayla Gardner Eagle Lake First Nation Read More Kelly Babstock Anishinaabe from the Unceded Territory of Wikwemikong Read More Kevin Sandy Cayuga Read More Kyle Ḵaayák’w Worl Tlingit, Deg Hit’an Athabascan and Yup'ik Read More Lauren Schad Cheyenne River Lakota Read More Leanne Sirup Inuit Read More Lori McAuley Nehiyew iskwew Read More Mariah Bahe Navajo Read More Martin F. Wheelock Oneida Read More Maurice “Mo” Smith Navajo Read More Michael G. Robinson White Earth Ojibwe Read More Michael Linklater Cree from Thunderchild First Nation Treaty 6 Territory Read More Naomi Lang Strong Karuk Tribe of Northern California Read More Natalie Nicholson Arikara/Ojibwe Read More Neal Powless Onondaga Read More Neilson Powless Oneida Read More Nicole Johnson Inupiaq Read More Niki Gashing Goodwin White Earth Nation Read More Oliver “Cap” Bomberry Sr Cayuga Read More Oren Lyons Onondaga Nation Read More Patti Dillon Mi'kmaq Read More Pete Conway Blackfeet Read More Phillip Castillo Acoma Pueblo Read More Rainelle Jones Cree Read More Rebekah Howe Crow Creek Sioux Read More Rob McClain Muscogee Creek/Red Lake Ojibwe Read More Robert ‘Bob’ Gawboy Bois Forte Band of Chippewa Read More Roger Vyse Mohawk Read More Ross Anderson Cheyenne and Arapaho Read More Ross Powless Mohawk Read More Ryneldi Becenti Navajo Read More Sam Horsechief Pawnee and Cherokee Read More Shayna Powless Oneida Read More Shiloh Butts Chickasaw Read More Steve McDonald Prairie Band Potawatomi Read More Tahnee Robinson Northern Cheyenne, Eastern Shoshone, Skidi Pawnee Read More Tanner Albers Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Read More Terae Briggs Crow Read More Ukaleq Slettemark Inuit Read More Victoria Bach Mohawk Read More Virgil Hill Three Affiliated Tribes Read More

  • Jonathan Cheechoo

    < Back Jonathan Cheechoo ​ ​ ​ Jonathan Cheechoo Moose Cree First Nation Induction Category: Year Inducted D.O.B. ​ Athlete 2023 July 15, 1980 ​ Jonathan Cheechoo is a member of the Moose Cree First Nation located at the southern end of James Bay in northern Ontario, Canada. Jonathan first played hockey at the age of four years old but only began playing organized hockey at 14 years old when he played AAA Bantam in Timmins, Ontario. From there Jonathan continued to excel through Midget AAA in Kapuskasing, Ontario to Jr. B with the Kitchener Dutchmen. He caught the eye of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and was drafted 5th overall in 1997 by the Belleville Bulls. Jonathan played with the Bulls for three years and increased his scoring totals each year with 76 points, 82 points, and 92 points respectively. In 1999, Jonathan led the Bulls to the OHL title and scored 5 goals in the deciding game 7 to help his team clinch the championship. Jonathan’s success in the OHL caught the attention of National Hockey League (NHL) teams. In 1998, Jonathan was drafted 29th overall by the San Jose Sharks. Prior to breaking into the NHL, he played in the American Hockey League (AHL). While in the AHL, Jonathan continued to show his natural talent around the net leading to being called up to the NHL’s Sharks in the 2002-03 season, where he remained for seven seasons. In 2005-06, Jonathan scored 56 goals and won the Maurice Richard trophy, which is awarded to the player with the most goals in a season. Jonathan joined the Ottawa Senators for one season in 2009-10 and finished his career in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), where he played for four seasons. Jonathan achieved the unique feat of being selected to participate in the All-Star Game of every league in which he has played, including the AHL, NHL and KHL. Jonathan announced his retirement from professional hockey in 2018. Proud of his roots and Cree heritage, he has maintained strong ties to his home community. Jonathan credits much of his success to the support of his community and supportive, loving family. Jonathan enjoys leading hockey camps in his hometown and speaks to Indigenous youth about the importance of pursuing their dreams. photo credit: San Jose Sharks <Back

  • Dustin Quinn Martin

    Dustin Quinn Martin Navajo Induction Category: Year Inducted D.O.B. Builder 2023 Sep 9, 1989 <Back Dustin Quinn Martin was born in Chinle, AZ. His mother is of German and Russian descent. His Father is Diné and Red Running into Water Clan born for the Towering House Clan. Dustin’s passion for running began at an early age, when he tagged along to track practice with his mother, Claudia, who was an assistant coach at Gallup High School. Native distance runners quickly became his idols. After attending high school in Albuquerque, Dustin ran four years of NCAA Division I cross country and track at Columbia University. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in anthropology in 2011. In the fall of 2011, he returned to New Mexico to serve as the Program Director of Wings of America, an organization founded in 1988 to create opportunities for talented Native American runners. During his early years with Wings, Dustin used his youthfulness and willingness to travel to reinvigorate the Wings network and expand the reach of the organization’s summer programs to provide mentorship and learning opportunities for Native youth from coast to coast. Apart from continuing to lend a hand to some of the most-talented runners across Indian Country, Dustin developed programs, such as “Flight Club” and “Pursuit” that do not require participants to race one another. Regular movement and connection to the Land are what are most important. Under his leadership, the Wings organization purchased a headquarters in Albuquerque, NM, that houses the Wings Elite Program, an opportunity for the best post-collegiate runners from across Indian Country to run at a professional level with the support of a Native coach and Native-lead organization. Photo Credits: Benjamin Weingart and Joy Godfrey

  • Denise Tsadeyohdi Waterman

    Denise Tsadeyohdi Waterman Oneida Induction Category: Year Inducted D.O.B. Builder 2022 Jun 9, 1953 <Back Denise Tsadeyohdi Waterman is a Haudenosaunee Oneida Nation citizen and Turtle clan family member. Ms. Waterman has served as a teacher and Mathematics Specialist for nearly forty years at the Onondaga Nation School. In 2016 the NIEA-NYS awarded Teacher of the Year, and The NIEA awarded her the National Community Service Teacher of the Year in 2014. Ms. Waterman co-founded the Onondaga Nation Education organization, the Onondaga Nation Minor Athletics, & the Onondaga Nation OLA Junior Lacrosse, Advisory Board member for Ohngwe sports, and is a Founding Board member (1983) of the Iroquois National Lacrosse of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. Denise Waterman said, “I enjoy applying Haudenosaunee ideology manifesting itself through the Haudenosaunee lacrosse, which allows the entire world to see, learn, and feel the pride of indigenous peoples and lacrosse enthusiasts from every corner of the world.” During her tenure as Executive Director of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse 2010-2015, she wrote, established, and negotiated the 2011 FIL merger initiative for the Haudenosaunee regarding the full nation membership for all our people within the world lacrosse organization. She also is widely noted for winning the bid to host the international 2015 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships on Native Lands; under her auspices as Executive Director. The World Lacrosse. Inc., an international sporting organization, has awarded Ms. Waterman the International Spirit of Lacrosse Award in 1998, 2007, 2011, and 2016. Her colleagues say, “The sustainability and future of indigenous sports are protected, thanks to the vigilance and character and truth of Denise Waterman that is the energy, the positive leadership that is the inner wisdom that provides us a view beyond ourselves; at no expense to others.” Denise Waterman’s educational background includes a B.S., SUCO New York in Education, Master’s Syracuse University, CAS in Education Leadership, and Ed.D Executive Leadership candidate at LeMoyne College. Denise’s family members are Lawson, Madex, Kohen, Kimaura, Tia, and Gewas. Done:toh.

  • Athlete | North American Indigenous Athletic Hall of Fame

    North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame By honoring and celebrating the empowered journey of these individuals and teams, the hope is their stories may inspire future generations to follow their dreams in athletics and life. Read About NAIAHF Athletes Coaches Builders Teams Media Officials Trainers Inductee Search

  • 7G Foundation

    7G Foundation Pauma Band of Luiseño Indian Induction Category: Year Inducted D.O.B. Builder 2022 Jan 1, 2019 <Back The 7G Foundation was founded by Bennae Calac, an enrolled member of Pauma Band of Luseno Indian of Pauma Valley, California. Bennae started 7G to inspire leadership in youth through education, athletics, culture and real-world support for the next seven generations. The Indigenous Bowl is 7G’s signature event that is held annually. In 2020 the Indigenous Bowl was paused due to the global pandemic. However, in December 2021 the 4th Indigenous Bowl was played at the US Bank Stadium, home of the Minnesota Vikings. In 2021, the Indigenous Bowl had 54 Native American high school football players representing 30 tribes from California to British Columbia. For many of the players it was the first time they had travelled outside their state. Stepping into a professional sports stadium not as a spectator but as a skilled player was life changing for these young athletes and as some expressed “a dream come true.” The 7G Foundation is committed to giving young Native American athletes visibility and providing pathways to reach their highest potential in high school, college and beyond. The unique aspect of the 7G foundation is celebrating and honoring the Native American heritage and culture of each of the athletes. Creating safe places that inspire the athletes to thrive has been the bedrock of 7G Foundation.

  • Krista Hodder

    Krista Hodder Mi’kmaw from Membertou First Nation Induction Category: Year Inducted D.O.B. Builder 2023 Dec 11, 1984 <Back Krista Hodder is an Indigenous woman from Membertou First Nation, located in the heart of Unama’ki, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia. She lives in her community with her two children. Krista began her career as a Child and Youth Worker, when she discovered her passion for sport, recreation and physical activity as a means to keep her community active, healthy and safe. She was the Mi’kmaw Physical Activity Coordinator for Membertou for eight years, beginning in 2013. It was in this role that she grounded and developed herself and her priorities. While working with her community, Krista worked with other Indigenous Communities to develop a developmental snowboard program designed to assist Indigenous youth to break down the barriers. The program saw as many as 400 youth come through the doors, with many going off to become snowboard instructors, giving back to the program that has gotten them started. As a hockey mom, Krista noted the discrepancies in opportunities for females to have a safe, supportive spaces to develop skill and build the love of the game. Working with stakeholders, Krista assisted in developing the Indigenous Girls Hockey Program, running for 10 weeks out of her home arena. The program provided gear and weekly practices. Most participants returned year after year, which has also given a boost to the local female hockey association. Some notable awards and recognition that Krista has seen include being named to the 2016 Most Influential Women in Sport and Physical Activity in Canada list, as the overall woman in the Builders category by Canadian Women and Sport. Krista has also been included in a timeline of Influential Women in the Public Service Sector, a national timeline featuring over 150 women from the 1600s to today, compiled by Canada's School of Public Service. In 2020, Krista was honored with the title of Hockey Canada's champion for the month of June. After many great years serving her community, Krista took a leap of faith, and a new title. She is now the Senior Coordinator of Programs and Events with the Aboriginal Sport Circle – Canada’s national voice for Aboriginal sport, physical activity and recreation, with her focus being on developing, supporting and delivering sport programs for Indigenous athletes across the country, providing opportunities and spaces for Indigenous youth to thrive in their sport. Photo 1 (winter photo): Krista participating in a walking meeting with the Active Cape Breton Communities Group. Photo Credit: Wayne McKay Photo 2 (profile): Krista smiles while discovering an eagle feather during a recreation meeting. Photo Credit: Jeannine Denny

  • Bennae Calac

    Bennae Calac Pauma Band of Luiseño Indian Induction Category: Year Inducted D.O.B. Builder 2022 Nov 16, 1969 <Back Bennae is a strong Native woman, mother, business owner, mentor, teacher, and leader. Over the last 35 years, Bennae Calac has represented Pauma in various political, cultural, and administrative capacities. She has served as the repatriation chair since the age of twenty-one and her life’s work is to preserve the culture and traditions of her people. She is dedicated to the preservation and revitalization of Luiseño songs and dances and works with her own children and local youth programs to ensure that this traditional knowledge is instilled in the younger generation. Bennae was elected as Committee Member to the Pauma Band’s Tribal Council in December 2008 and served another two-year term as Secretary and Treasurer. Through her various Tribal roles, Bennae interacts with the youth, culture, public and political relations. Bennae continually answers the community’s call to speak on topics ranging from native wellness, health advocacy, domestic violence, women’s issues, and cultural preservation. Bennae serves on numerous boards and committees, including as the Co-Founder of the 7G Foundation, a (501)(c)(3) organization providing Native Americans, and other Indigenous people and communities, assistance in reaching their goals through Athletics, Education, Health-Mind-Body Practices, and Community. She has also established and serves as Board Chair for Onoo Po Strategies, a multifaceted consultancy and holding company with capabilities in Economic Development, Technology, Procurement and Distribution, Business Strategy and Marketing, and Environmental and Agricultural Management. Photo: Mom (left) and daughter at the US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis.

  • Wilton Littlechild

    Wilton Littlechild Cree Induction Category: Year Inducted D.O.B. Builder 2022 Apr 1, 1944 <Back An Indigenous lawyer of Cree ancestry, bestowed as Honourary Cree Chief and International Chief, Wilton Littlechild was elected a Member of Parliament in Canada and Vice-President of the Indigenous Parliament of the Americas. Known for his advocacy, nationally and internationally on Human Rights and Traditional Games and Sports. Born in Maskwacis (Treaty No. 6), raised by his grandparents but taken at the age of six where he spent fourteen years in the Indian Residential School system. He witnessed and experienced various forms of abuse but was also introduced to sports, which he used to motivate his pursuit of excellence and run from abuse. He eventually excelled academically and in athletics; credits his traditional upbringing to seek balance in life; underpinned by spirituality and family support. Achievements: • Ten Athlete of the Year Awards • Holds three University and five Honorary Doctorate degrees (Physical Education, Law) • Eight Sports Halls of Fame • University of Alberta Most Outstanding Indian Athlete in Canada (twice) • Major Sports: Hockey, Baseball, Swimming • Centennial medal - Top 100 in Hockey • Order of Sport as inductee to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame • Over seventy-five Championships • Twice honoured in Switzerland and Olympic Games Ambassador

  • Sam McCracken

    Sam McCracken Sioux and Assiniboine Induction Category: Year Inducted D.O.B. Builder 2022 Jul 19, 1960 <Back Sam McCracken, is a member of the Sioux and Assiniboine tribes in northeastern Montana on the Ft. Peck Indian Reservation and the General Manager of Nike N7. He also serves as the Vice Chair of the board for the Center for Native American Youth. McCracken started with Nike in 1997. He became the Manager of Nike’s Native American Business in 2000 and led the development of the Nike Air Native N7 shoe, the retail collection and the fund which provides access to sport for Native American and Indigenous youth in North America. Since 2009, the fund has awarded more than $8 million in grants to Tribal communities, reaching more than 500,000 youth. McCracken received Nike’s Bowerman Award in 2004, named after Nike co-founder and track and field coach Bill Bowerman. He was honored by the Freedom Foundation at Valley Forge with the George Washington Honor Medal in 2004. In 2007, he was coined a "corporate change maker" and named among the 20 most innovative global “Intrapreneurs” by He worked with Nike to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with Indian Health Service in 2003 and 2009, and with the Bureau of Indian Education in 2010 bringing access to sport for Native American communities. He was appointed by President Barack Obama to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Council on Indian Education in 2010 and received the President’s "Leadership Award" from the National Indian Gaming Association in 2010. More recently, McCracken and N7 received the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s 2019 Corporate Business of the Year award and in 2020, McCracken was inducted into the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2022, McCracken was honored by the World Economic Forum as the Schwab Foundation’s Social Intrapraneur of the Year.

  • Matt Roberson

    Matt Roberson Wichita/Keechi Induction Category: Year Inducted D.O.B. Builder 2023 Dec 2, 1981 <Back Matt Roberson is the Executive Director for the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Department of Athletic Regulation. Matt also serves as the Executive Officer and Region 6 Director for the North American Indigenous Games Council, as well as, serving as a Management Representative for Quivera Enterprises, Wichita Tribal Enterprises, Wichita Government Solutions and Iscani Industries. Matt is an enrolled member of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes (Keechi) and is originally from Anadarko, Oklahoma. Previously, Matt was elected to the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes Executive Committee and served as Southern Plains Regional Vice-President Alternate for the National Congress of American Indians. Matt was elected to two terms as President of The Association of Combative Sports Commissions. While under his leadership, The Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe Department of Athletic Regulation was recognized as the 2017 Organization of The Year by the Minnesota Boxing Hall of Fame. The Department of Athletic Regulation, also organized and hosted the First Annual “Meeting of The Clans” an All-Indigenous Amateur Boxing World Championship in 2022. In 2017, Matt received The National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development’s prestigious “40 under 40 Award." In 2018, Matt was selected as an American Express NGEN Fellow and in 2022 completed Converge Social Justice Leadership fellowship through the American Express Leadership Academy.

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