Lori McAuley has generously given over fifty years to the sport of canoe/kayak in Saskatchewan. She has mentored and inspired hundreds, perhaps thousands to compete, coach and champion the sport, introducing Indigenous youth to kayaking and ensuring canoeing keeps its foothold as a traditional sport. Coming from a family of competitive paddlers, Lori was racing on the professional circuit by age 16. She also began her lifelong commitment of giving back, making an indelible impact on youth throughout Saskatchewan.
Lori took on the work as the volunteer NAIG Games Head Coach and Coordinator for Saskatchewan beginning with the 2002 Games. She chaired committees, planned, and implemented athlete development programs, ran trials, managed, and coached teams for four sets of Games, plus the postponed 2020 Games. Lori ran the Canoe event at four Saskatchewan First Nations Games (SNFG). Her involvement was all encompassing, from setting racecourses to being the Chief Official. Lori also spearheaded Games programs for the Saskatoon Tribal Council.
Lori’s commitment is highlighted by:
• An historically successful team - Saskatchewan led the medal count in canoeing at every Games except 2017, winning 50 medals in 2014 alone.
• Raising the bar with Games programs and competition by administering and coaching excellent programs and by keeping the needs of youth at the forefront.
• Mentoring youth including a paddler went on to medal at Canada Games and national team selection.
• Building a community network of volunteers, coaches, and managers, mentoring coaches to become certified.
• Making her commitment a family contribution. Lori’s husband and children were heavily involved as volunteers with the SFNG and NAIG Games.
• Her use of sport to positively impact youth. Her approach is holistic, exposing athletes to mental training, nutrition, and land training. She encourages excellence in sport, academics and everyday life, inspiring athletes to become role models in their community.
Photo Credit: Lori McAuley with husband Dale McAuley at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games