I’ve always been aware of how Indigenous people are portrayed in the media. Canadians have been taught from an early age that we are to be feared, and we are to be hated.These stereotypes have also been drilled into our own heads, that we are inferior, and in many ways, to hate ourselves.
I stopped reading the Winnipeg Sun 3 years ago, because it reinforced these stereotypes on a daily basis. They pushed the idea that we are all angry, drunk, violent criminals, and thieves. And the headlines were always sensationalized to try and grab the readers attention. The picture that is being painted of us, has not done much to improve the relationships with the rest of the country. This false image of us plays out in many of the interactions that we have with the rest of society.
The one thing that 100 basketballs was able to do well was- to bring positive Indigenous stories to the media. It is important to me that people see my story, and that they can use that as inspiration to change their life around. There is a lot of people out there with criminal records who have changed their life around, And they get up and go to work everyday.
We want people to say yeah, he used to live that way, but we don’t want that to be the first thing that people see. There is much more to me than being a former drug dealer. There is much more to what were doing at AYO (Aboriginal Youth Opportunities), than just basketball.
We’re trying to break stereotypes. We’re trying to create opportunities for our youth. We want to build relationships and forge alliances with anyone and everyone that has these same goals. There is a lot of talented Indigenous youth out there, and we want to be able to help them. We want Canadian society to be able to approach us without fear, and to know that we can work together. These are the goals.