A woman from a First Nation in northern Manitoba was given a hero’s welcome upon her return from the 2022 Dragon Boat World Championships in the Czech Republic.
An unexpected welcome party greeted Trina Ross at the Winnipeg airport as she returned home from the Czech Republic with a little more baggage than she left with.
Ross recently represented Canada – and her community of Pimicikamak Cree Nation at the championships.
“I was very happy to be there. Especially even after covid, we couldn’t even race or anything and then to see all the other countries coming together again and paddling together, it was nice out there it was nice to see that,” Ross said.
She returns with eight medals, three gold, two silver, and three bronze, and was the only Indigenous woman who was part of Team Canada.
A number of First Nations leaders greeted Ross as she arrived at the Winnipeg airport.
“We’re very proud of Trina, I commend you so very much, you’re an inspiration to our men our women our First Nations young people and for living a healthy lifestyle. And for showing many of us what can be done, we’re just so proud of you at a time that’s just so tragic that we have such good news here today, that we have hope and inspiration in you,” said AFN Manitoba Regional Chief Cindy Woodhouse.
Leaders presented her with flowers, gifts, and wrapped her in a star blanket made to reflect the Pimicikamak Cree Nation flag.
“I can’t say enough about how proud I am of her and it’s really set a good example for everybody back home and with all the tragedy we faced this year losing youth and others and it really brings a lot of hope back to our community,” said Pimicikamak councillor Lee Thomas.
“Means a lot, especially growing up together seeing her throughout the years and for the kids back home, it gives them a bar to live up to you know she set the bar really high and hopefully our kids will meet it and some have and other will.”
Ross hopes her story of success can inspire other young Indigenous youth.
“If you’re a paddler, runner, anything, any sport, just keep going even if you have injuries or setbacks don’t give up just keep going, keep working hard,” Ross said.
“There’s people watching and then there’s kids watching us all the time, they look up to us. Even my boys, they look up to me so I can’t give up I just keep going and do my best as a mother to show my kids that anything’s possible.”