Indigenous Sports & Wellness of Ontario February News

ISWO Insider | February Edition

Aanii / Boozhoo / She:kon / Sge:no / Wachay / Shekoli / Tansi / Greetings,

Welcome to the February Edition of the Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (ISWO) newsletter. Here you can find information and updates about upcoming events, resources to increase your wellness, and sport opportunities for youth and communities across the province of Ontario.

With Respect,
Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (ISWO)

ISWO continues to monitor the COVID-19 pandemic situation in the province of Ontario, and the recommendations provided by public health authorities, for keeping our staff community members and program participants safe. Based on the recent COVID-19 situation in Ontario with many parts of the region still under a lockdown, and given the recommendation for the continued use of social distancing, ISWO has extended its in-person program closures to March 31, 2021.

Well Nation – New & Upcoming Programs
Join us for this months Inspiring Stories Series!

Joel Kennedy, from the Oneida Nation of the Thames, is an avid runner who lives in London, Ontario and works at N’Amerind Friendship Centre. In 2015, Joel took control of his health and since then has lost over 165 lbs. Starting out with a couch to 5K running program, he has gone on to finish three marathons. Joel will be sharing his journey of transformation to the avid runner he is today.

Participants will have the chance to win a gift card to the Running Room and Brooks athletic shirts. This event is open to all Indigenous Peoples living in Ontario; registration is NOT required.

Join via Zoom at:
Meeting ID: 839 0210 0260 Passcode: 669297

For more information, please contact Carlyn Johnston, ISWO Southwest Regional Coordinator, at [email protected].


Are you a Wellness Warrior? Challenge yourself, have fun and activate your wellness with this four-week program! This activity is open to all Indigenous Peoples in the Province of Ontario.

ISWO will be hosting a set of weekly challenges each week in February. To participate, simply complete at least 2 of the activities from the list provided and post a picture of your participation in the comments for that week’s post. 

At the end of the week, participants will be entered into a draw for prizes. Four (4) prizes will be awarded every week. If you complete four or more activities, you will receive two ballots in the draw for prizes for that week. Participate in all four weeks to be entered into the Grand Prize draw.

Weekly schedules will be posted on Facebook every Monday; winners will be announced the following Monday.

Weekly prizes include: wireless earbuds, personal smoothie blenders, home fitness bundles, Cheekbone Beauty gift cards, Amazon gift cards and more! The Grand Prize winner will take home a $500 Canadian Tire gift card; two Grand Prize winners will be selected.

Note: Please follow all COVID-19 public health guidelines and ensure personal safety measures when completing activities. Youth 16 and under should obtain parental/guardian permission prior to participating.  SPORT 

Save the Date for this exciting virtual event open to all Indigenous youth and families in Ontario. The Well Nation Virtual Games will feature fun, family friendly activities for all ages and abilities. Stay tuned for more information and spread the word!

We’ve got some new members of the ISWO team! Join us in welcoming them.

Danielle Johnson – Standing Bear Program Development Coordinator
Danielle Johnson is a proud Haudenosaunee woman, belonging to the Oneida Nation, Wolf Clan from Six Nations. Danielle is a graduate of Geographic Information Systems, with an Honour’s in Office Administration. Danielle has more than 15 years of experience working within the education system at the elementary and high school levels, both in the classroom and as an office administrator. She also spent years advocating for Indigenous clients with the Canadian Paraplegic Association, now Spinal Cord Injury Ontario, as the Peer Support Coordinator. 

Danielle has dedicated over 40 years to the Six Nations Skating Club as a skating member, and as a coach for figure skating and power skating. As a mother of six children, Danielle found herself volunteering for a variety of minor sports over the years. Recently, she developed an interest in health and wellness, and became passionate about supporting peers with their healthy lifestyle changes. 

Danielle combined her extensive skills, with her passion for Indigenous youth, and joined ISWO as the new Program Development Coordinator for the Standing Bear Indigenous Youth Leadership Program, where she will continue to devote her time to advocating for the health and wellness of our Indigenous youth.

For more information about Standing Bear or for program opportunities, email Danielle at [email protected]

Hannah Leaf – Southeast Regional Coordinator
Hannah is a proud Mohawk woman from Akwesasne, raising four daughters, and leading a healthy active life as a mom, coach and athlete. She is currently working towards completing her certification as a Competitive Box Lacrosse Coach, and coaches and plays lacrosse at many different levels. Hannah is also the Head Coach for the U19 Women’s Aboriginal Team Ontario for the upcoming NAIG. She looks forward to leading and promoting positive sport and recreation programs with Indigenous youth, families and communities within her region.
 You can contact Hannah about programming in the Southeast region at [email protected].

Justin Sackaney – Northeast Regional Coordinator
Justin’s lineage is mainly from 3 communities on the James Bay Coast, namely Attawapiskat, Kashechewan and Fort Albany.  He calls Fort Albany home.  Justin relocated to Fort Albany in 2006 after completing his first University degree in Psychology.  Upon experiencing a busy active life outside of school while growing up in Timmins, he noticed a gap in programming at Fort Albany’s gymnasium during the evenings. Justin developed a basketball program and spent numerous hours in the evenings playing sports with Fort Albany’s young people for 12 years. This experience helped him develop skills for fostering youth leadership, and saw first-hand the benefits of what sport can do for one’s development.

Justin has participated in numerous ISWO sporting events, first as a youth and then as an adult, playing basketball.  Recently he has been involved in sharing the joys of participating in sport events as a coach/mentor, with the community of Fort Albany.

Justin is excited to connect with other communities in the Northeast region who are looking for ways to engage youth.
 You can contact Justin about programming in the Northeast region at [email protected].

STANDING BEAR YOUTH LEADERSHIP PROGRAM Are you an Indigenous community or organization looking to engage youth and build leadership skills through land-based learning and cultural activities? Apply for the Standing Bear CLAW Fund and receive up to $40,000* in funding for your community or organization. Funds will support the delivery of the Standing Bear program for Indigenous youth residing in Ontario, between the ages of 14-24.

Deadline to apply is February 22, 2021.

Visit for more information, program guidelines and application. You can also attend ISWO’s virtual information session scheduled to take place on Tuesday, February 16 at 12:00 pm (EST), to learn more about the program and for help with the application process.

*Note: The amount of funding awarded will be dependent on the number of participants registered in the Standing Bear program. ABOUT STANDING BEAR

Standing Bear is an Indigenous Youth Leadership Program developed by ISWO, designed to strengthen individual and community wellness by empowering and supporting Indigenous youth to build confidence, strengthen identity, create networks and find purpose. The program is free, available online and provides access to culturally relevant opportunities for growth and personal development for youth aged 14- 24 in Ontario. 
For more information about the Standing Bear please visit or get started with your Standing Bear Core Certificate on the My ISWO Portal at

Review the Standing Bear Program Streams and Activities Guide for more information about the Standing Bear program. 

Tender for Standing Bear Beaded Medallions
ISWO is requesting proposals of quotes for Standing Bear beaded medallions. Deadline for submission is February 18, 2021.Click here for full details and instructions on submitting a proposal. 

RESOURCES If you or someone you know is struggling during this time, please reach out to:

First Nations and Inuit Hope for Wellness Helpline: 1-855-242-3310
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868 or online at
Crisis Services Canada: 1-833-456-4566

These services are available 24 hours a day.

  Looking for some great podcasts? Support the 4Rs Youth Movement and participate in the conversation in a safe space.As young people from across diverse nations, 4Rs believes in  the power of conversation to transform relationships. Their mission is to change the country by changing the relationship between Indigenous and non­-Indigenous young people. 

Find more information here:

Looking for online resources for Indigenous languages? Check out the helpful listing of websites and Apps of Indigenous Languages in Canada, provided by the Canadian Language Museum.
You can view the entire listing here:

Read about First Nation Chef Marie-Cecile Nottaway who is reclaiming her families’ generations-old recipes to feed new audiences.

REGISTER NOW at for the “#SheIsWise Nibwaakaa Inaadiziwin” 3rd annual conference about wise practices on addressing violence. #VirtualConference from March 15-17, 2021.

Keep kids busy reading with these websites that offer Indigenous stories in Indigenous languages and also in English and French. There also some great lists and recommendations for Indigenous stories and authors for kids. Check out our list below:

  Apply now for the 2021 RBC Indigenous Student Awards

Applications due February 28, 2021.

This scholarship is intended to support Indigenous students who have a minimum of 2 years remaining in their post-secondary studies. Scholarship recipients are selected primarily on the basis of personal and academic achievements, and individual financial need. Status Indians, Non-status Indians, Inuit and Métis are welcome to apply. Selected students will receive up to $5,000 per academic year for educational and living expenses for 2 to 4 years.

RBC awards twenty scholarships in two categories for students:
• Majoring in disciplines related to the financial services industry
• Majoring in disciplines unrelated to the financial services industry

2021 Student Awards Program:
Click for more details:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT ISWO honours the traditional lands and homelands of all Indigenous Peoples and communities across the province of Ontario, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis living both on and off reserve, in rural and urban communities.