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Kathy Smith


Induction Category:

Year Inducted




A member of the Mohawk Nation, Sha’tekariwate turtle clan, and raised on the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory in Canada, Kathy Smith was inspired by her father’s involvement in minor sports at Six Nations, and the lack of opportunities for girls to play sports when she was growing up. Her lacrosse journey began with Six Nations Girls Field Lacrosse, where she held positions from coach to house league convenor to Vice President.

In 2006, Smith entered the international arena as a member of the Haudenosaunee Women’s Lacrosse (HWL) Board, formed to take women’s field lacrosse teams to play in World Championships. When the original Board was dismantled after the 2007 U19 World Championship, Smith was asked to create a new Board in 2008.

A new aspect of Smith’s lacrosse journey began as the Chairperson of the HWL Board, eventually evolving into the Executive Director of the Haudenosaunee Nationals Board of Directors (HNBOD). From 2008 to 2021, she led the Haudenosaunee women to World Cups in 2009, 2013 and 2017 and U19 World Championships in 2011 and 2019. A journey with challenges and lessons, the biggest challenge was the U19 women being denied entry into Scotland to play in the 2015 World Championship. Learning the lessons of perseverance, believing in possibilities, and doing the necessary work, the Haudenosaunee women travelled to England on Haudenosaunee passports in 2017 to play in the World Cup. By entering Germany in 2011 and England in 2017, the HNBOD furthered the acceptance and legitimacy of Haudenosaunee passports.

Knowing the women needed to be their best; physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, Smith incorporated visualizations, affirmations, and tapping into preparing the women for competition. Recognizing empowered women build strong families, clans, nations, and communities, she hoped the experience of representing the Haudenosaunee on the world stage, persevering through adversity, and believing in their ability to have, be, or do whatever they want, will be passed on to future generations. During Smith’s time as the leader of the Haudenosaunee women’s lacrosse program, the women had autonomy, self-sufficiency and independence, a women’s program led by women, true empowerment of women.

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