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Aboriginal Athletes Introduction
Aboriginal athletes in Canada have faced tremendous challenges. Often hailing from geographically remote communities, many have had to overcome limited resources and an absence of public support to achieve their dreams. As elite competitors in international sport, they also frequently had to navigate cultural challenges reflecting stark differences between the way of life they knew in their communities of origin, and the expectations and cultural norms of Euro-Canadian society. Their achievements challenged popular assumptions and unjust colonial stereotypes about Aboriginal people that often reflected a pervasive, institutionalized racism across Canada. As role models, athletes like Tom Longboat and Joe Benjamin Keeper also set powerful examples in the early twentieth century that instilled pride and hope in Aboriginal communities still reeling from repressive government policies. Throughout the modern era, Aboriginal athletes have remained icons of cultural endurance, and their achievements continue to enrich Canada's sporting landscape today.