Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Canadian History and Society: Through the Lens of Sport Virtual Museum of Canada


Video Transcript

[Narrator: Rylan Strachan]

[Image of Alex Decoteau family and his school class]

After the tragic loss of his father, the Alex Decoteau Family moved from the Red Pheasant Reserve, Saskatchewan so that the children could attend the Battleford Industrial School. He was a good student and an exceptional athlete. He later moved to Edmonton, Alberta and worked as a blacksmith.

[Image of Decoteau in police uniform]

Profoundly impacted by his father's murder, Decoteau joined the Edmonton Police Force as a Constable in 1909. He was Canada's first aboriginal police officer.

[Image of Decoteau running, 1912 Olympic medal and trophies he won]

From 1909 to 1916, Decoteau won most of the major long distance races in Western Canada and broke several records. He qualified for the 1912 Olympic Games and placed eighth in the 5,000m event. He won races so frequently that he was given trophies permanently without even competing.

[Image of Decoteau in military uniform, 49th battalion cap badge, gold pocket watch]

The First World War broke out in 1914 and Decoteau enlisted in 1916. He first relayed messages in the trenches as a runner. While in England, he won a military race and King George V awarded him this personal gold pocket watch because the trophy arrived late. It was his most treasured possession during the War.

[Image of Passchendaele and Decoteau in police uniform with colleague and war medal]

The Allied effort to win Passchendaele was successful after months of protracted fighting, but at a great cost. On October 30th, 1917, twenty-nine year old Alexander Wuttanee Decoteau was killed by a German sniper and was buried in Ypres.

[Image of Herald Road Race trophy]

In 1985, he was given a proper Cree burial and his spirit was brought home.

[Image of Decoteau with trophies and medals]

Today, Decoteau is an example of what people can accomplish in their lives. Each spring since 2001, Edmonton students participate in the five-kilometre Alex Decoteau Educational Run in his honour.

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