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Carriera Lamoureux Paving a Legacy for Indigenous Women in Sport and Excellence

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Carriera Lamoureux, the first Indigenous female to officiate basketball in Manitoba, paves the way for young women in Winnipeg to reach for success through her active leadership in the community.

Lamoureux spent most of her formative years living in Winnipeg’s North end, an experience she shares molded her into the person she is today. After spending most of her childhood in an upper, middle-class neighborhood, at age fifteen, Lamoureux moved to a part of the city where violence is prevalent. She shares that in hindsight, living in the North end of Winnipeg taught her the meaning of resilience, and to value the people in her community as their love and support is what would carry her forward in a journey to success.

Lamoureux shared how she spent most of her life ashamed of the resilient, competitive, and stubborn traits within her. Still, by learning to accept these qualities, which are not always considered in a positive light, she could embrace herself completely and strive for excellence. Lamoureux has learned to walk in these qualities and accept these parts of herself; she now works to inspire young women in the community to be as authentic as possible.

“In my role as a coach, I am very passionate, and I try to lead the young women I work with towards success. I try to encourage them to reach their full potential as many of the young women I work with don’t recognize the great qualities they hold within themselves. They do not see that they are worthy of excellence. So, while I know the game [basketball], I enjoy it – I feel that my role is to ensure the young women I’m working with know they’re supported and feel empowered”, shares Lamoureux.

Lamoureux is the first Indigenous female referee in Manitoba and shares that while this is an incredible honour for her and she recognizes the significance of being in such a leadership position, she is mindful that she is not perfect. She loves her community wants to ensure all the youth she works with feel welcome and valued. Deriving from Indigenous learnings, Lamoureux tries to incorporate humility and wisdom in her coaching and bring these elements, even subtly, into her coaching.

Though Lamoureux has achieved much success at a young age, she is not unknown to hardship, trials, and tribulations. At the age of 21, after playing basketball at the Canadian Mennonite University for two years, Lamoureux’s suffered a setback to her collegiate career stemming from problems with her knees. She was stumbling and tripping often. Doctors concluded that she had inherited kneecaps which were tilted and consequently, would need surgery. A surgery which was supposed to be a simple procedure ended up with some complications, and Lamoureux was told she might not be able to continue playing sports competitively.

Lamoureux chuckled as she recalled this experience and emphasized that her strength in overcoming this painful situation came from a deep sense of stubbornness not to allow the words of a surgeon to become her reality. She wanted to prove to herself and her community that she could, and she’d persevered. Reflecting back, she feels a sense of completion, which has been, at times, overwhelming.

Lamoureux attributes four people as significant supports of her journey to success. Her father, as someone who has always been in her corner and supported her and attended all her basketball games. Her high school coach, who showed her love and welcomed her into the world of basketball in Grade 6. Her basketball coach at the Algoma University, who gave her a second chance when no one else would after her injury. And finally, Lamoureux fondly shares her love and gratitude towards her partner, Wyatt Anders. “We are like fire and ice. We are so passionately compatible, and we take our contrasting qualities into the world and try to conquer our journey together”.

To conclude, Lamoureux shares a final piece on leaving her mark on this world and the community in which she has found solace, comfort, and strength. “If people are to remember me, very simply, I would like to be remembered as someone who loved extravagantly, without limits. Someone who was accepting and saw potential in otherwise, absence. If someone has made a kid feel unloved, I want them to come to my gym, open the door and feel a sense of home and belonging. Ultimately, my goal is not to develop basketball players, but rather well-rounded people so they can contribute as best they can in whichever field, discipline, or sector they find themselves in”, says Carriera Lamoureux.

(Carriera Lamoureux coaches the Girls Varsity Basketball Team at Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute with her partner, Wyatt Anders).

Lamoureux was named the Sport Manitoba ‘Women to Watch’ grant recipient in late 2021. She is the first Indigenous woman to be officiating basketball games as a referee in Manitoba. With her partner, Wyatt Anders, she coaches several Basketball girls team in Winnipeg including at General Wolfe School, Daniel McIntyre Collegiate Institute, and Winnipeg Wildcats Basketball.

Lamoureux is currently the Director of Special Projects at the Manitoba Aboriginal Sports and Recreational Council. Through this work, she has co-authored a book A History of Excellence – The Untold Stories of Manitoba’s Indigenous Sport. She is working on a second volume where she will focus on Indigenous women in sport.

As the Director of Special Projects at MASRC, Lamoureux also hosts basketball tournaments, in which over 100 teams participate. The most recent games witnessed a 86% Indigenous participation rate, as many individuals from the Indigenous community drove from remote areas to participate.

Lamoureux is also a graduate student working towards obtaining a Master’s degree in Religion and Culture at the University of Winnipeg.

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