Dakotah Woods from Chapleau, playing for Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is featured as cover story in the Wabun Sun.
The Wabun Sun is published by the Wabun Tribal Council online and in print with stories and features from its seven First Nations members: Beaverhouse, Brunswick House, Chapleau Ojibwe, Flying Post, Matachewan, Mattagami and Wahgoshig.
I have touched on some of the highlights of Dakotah's interview but you can read it in its entirety at http://wabunsun.com or obtain a print version from Wabun Tribal Council.
“Playing my first major game for a team like the Remparts was an amazing experience and something that every kid dreams of. As an Aboriginal person and someone from a small northern community this has been an exciting and unbelievable journey,” Dakotah told the Wabun Sun.
Born in Chapleau, Dakotah, who is a member of Brunswick House First Nation. first played in the Chapleau Minor Hockey Association, and his career continued after the family moved to North Bay. He is the son of Isabelle (Saunders) and Gordon Woods.
His mother Isabelle told the magazine that the move, to advance her son's hockey career, was also a chance for her to continue her training and education in the medical field.
“I feel that Dakotah and I went on a journey together with the family to North Bay to further our opportunities and to live our dreams. He was excelling in hockey and I was also doing my best to complete my training and education in nursing. He was always a dedicated individual and it was never hard to get him to those early morning games, through long days of training or enduring late night road trips. He has worked very hard for what he has achieved and knowing that makes us all very proud of his accomplishments,” said Isabelle. to the Wabun Sun.
My congratulations to Isabelle on completing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Nipissing University in 2015
Dakotah's father Gordon commented: “We are so proud of what Dakotah has accomplished these past few years. There have been plenty of sacrifices on his part and for our family as well but we are grateful for the success he has achieved. I have so much pride in his hockey career but I am also happy to have watched him grow from a dedicated boy in hockey to the mature independent man that he has become."
The magazine noted that "Dakotah Woods, a member of Brunswick House FirstN ation, has become a positive role model for the Aboriginal community by achieving the ranks of semi professional hockey with the Quebec Remparts. "
The article mentioned that his family went to visit him in Quebec City where he now resides, to celebrate his 1 8th birthday this January."He stays in constant touch with his family in Ontario including his older sister Cedar, who recently completed her secondary school education and his younger brother Hunter, who is following in his brothers footsteps and is involved in the Little Native Hockey League in northern Ontario.
"In terms of his education, Dakotah Woods makes his studies a priority during his regular schedule and hopes to some day follow in his mother's path and develop a career in the medical field. He wants to give other young Aboriginal people the message he learned from his family that hard work and dedication to sports is important but that education should also be prominent.
“I make myself available to speak to other young people, especially in First Nation communities. I want to share the same teachings I learned from others along my path, that no matter where you are from or what walk of life, if you work hard, keep focused, make good choices and don't allow others to bring you down, anything is possible. It is also at times necessary to make sacrifices to achieve your goals and that means choosing your friends well and being aware of the danger or pitfalls of drugs and alcohol,” commented Dakotah who has a strong connection to his community and its history.
Wabun Sun noted that his mother Isabelle is the daughter of legendary Chief Joe Saunders and Chief Francis Saunders. Both of Dakotah's grandparents were instrumental in creating positive developments for their community and Chief Joe Saunders was also a founding member of the Wabun Tribal Council.
“My biggest thanks are to my parents for everything they've done for me and to my sister Cedar and my younger brother Hunter, for all their support. There have been so many people who have helped me on my path and I wish I could list them all but that would take a book,” said Dakotah in his interview.
During the off season of hockey, mainly from June to August, Dakotah makes himself available to speak to First Nation youth at public events in workshops or motivational speaking. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org