Chippewas of Nawash Unceded First Nation, ON
“Whatever success I’ve had is directly linked to the work and sacrifices of the generations of our people before, so I need to continue the help the healing process with my particular set of skills.”
As the first Indigenous male to play on the Canadian National Men’s Volleyball Team and represent the country internationally, Dallas Soonias has become a role model and teacher for Indigenous youth and athletes. He participates as a speaker at ceremonies and events such as the North American Indigenous Games where he inspires athletes to meet and surpass the challenges of systemic racism in the Canadian system of competition, encouraging them to pursue sports not typically associated with Indigenous athletes – just as he did. As a trailblazer in his field, Dallas has been challenged with the responsibility of communicating the Indigenous experience and world view to many non-Indigenous sports organizations and academic programs so that they too can support Indigenous athletes and students. And as a coach, Dallas incorporates a spiritual and holistic style into his training, and has helped to develop a volleyball program that utilizes his experience as a First Nation professional athlete to teach a new generation.