It’s June 21st. day of the summer solstice. Sunday. It is also the National Day of Indigenous Peoples. So the celebration of Native American solidarity for boxer Mary Spencer.
I was miles from believing that I would be queuing on my way to Marc Ramsay’s grammar school for an article on the Aboriginal summer solstice celebrations.
There were Erik Bazinyan, Steven Butler, Artem Oganesyan and most of all Ramsay, the small and clumsy eyes who came back from New York with lots of stories.
But once I started talking to Mary Spencer things took a turn for the worse. The day of the release, the story and most of all she, this tall, beautiful, sensitive and determined woman, everything fell into place.
You should know that the aces of the desk who correct my chronicles know that I have a gift for badly spelling names. Must be some form of dyslexia. But here I beat my record. It was written by Mary Spencer’s wife herself. This is how Mary found herself at the age of 2 in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, an aboriginal community in northern Ontario. His father, a proud Ojibwa of Cape Croker First Nation, and his Chicago native mother lived there for several years. Mary was raised in the First Nations spirit.
Photo courtesy of Mary Spencer
She poses with children from the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Ontario community.
Then the family moved to the city. And Mary discovered boxing.
“Boxing shaped me. I’ve learned that thanks to boxing I can have a horrible day at school and be miserable at night and extremely happy the next day,” she says.
His fabulous career at the Olympics, Pan American Games and World Championships, his epic rivalry with Ariane Fortin, his life was full of exploits and achievements.
But in 2010, she discovered what boxer Kent Brown was doing in Cross Lake, 10 hours north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. She enquired, visited and saw the success of her work with Aboriginal youth. She began to get involved until she received numerous awards for her work and commitment to Aboriginal causes.
KASHCHEWAN, SAID KASH
Then, in 2016, she found herself in Kashechewan in northern Ontario. It’s a Cree community. She was offered an apprenticeship.
“Then one day, with my own gear, gloves and stuff, I started teaching kids to box. It was like a revelation,” she says.
Of course, the children discovered boxing for themselves. But they discovered the sport. The competition. And above all, the sense of discipline and commitment. Mary told them that when she was 10 or 11 she wanted basketball shoes. She dreamed of these $120 shoes. For weeks she collected empty bottles until she bought her shoes. Later, as a teenager, she competed in the Native Games in the United States… in basketball.
So, with determination and hard work, great things could be achieved.
BUILD A RING
Mary Spencer was able to build a boxing ring in a disused room through persuasion. Then old Trainer sent him used equipment.
“But the children’s results touched my heart. I lived in Kash for two years. I have seen the children develop. Those were great moments in my life. Many of those years in Kash inspired me to turn pro and resume my career. I wanted to be a role model and all the hours in the ring had rekindled the flame,” she says.
Today Mary is married to a Quebecer. His career and personal life take up a lot of time. But she keeps track of her cubs’ progress in Kash. She talks to them, analyzes their training performance and talks about their adventures with the pros.
Always in tune with the spirit of the First Nations…
AND MARIE-ÈVE DICAIRE
After her workout, she’s a speed and strength machine, we spoke to her trainer Ian MacKillop and Anson Wainwright, a British journalist, about Marie-Ève Dicaire ring magazineShe ended up in the gym for Thursday’s gala.
Mary was very careful not to hurt anyone. But the consensus among the other panellists was unequivocal.
Marie-Ève Dicaire will push as far as possible from Mary Spencer…
PS The holiday of Christmas replaced an old pagan holiday celebrating December 21st, the winter solstice. So since it’s pagan, we can celebrate it without offending Valérie Plante.