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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
December 5, 2016
Canadian Excellence



Office of Aboriginal Initiatives

PhD Student, Allan Downey, credits Laurier for encouraging him to use the history of lacrosse to help re-empower Indigenous communities

May 27/13

“Laurier supported me in asking, ‘How can I effectively take my research and help communities with it?’”
— Allan Downey, Nak'azdli First Nation,PhD Candidate in History

Inspiring Lives.

It was a lacrosse stick that led Allan Downey to university and to a deeper understanding of his Aboriginal roots. As a kid who sometimes struggled in school, lacrosse gave him joy, purpose and a scholarship to an American college. It also kindled an interest in history and his Native heritage. After four years in the U.S., Downey enrolled in graduate studies at Wilfrid Laurier University where a vibrant Aboriginal support program inspired him to combine lacrosse, academics and a renewed sense of identity as a First Nations person. Now a PhD candidate studying the history of lacrosse, he credits Laurier for encouraging him to use his research as a tool for mentoring Aboriginal youth. “Laurier enabled me to use the history of the game I’m writing about to help re-empower Indigenous communities,” he says. “Only a lucky few researchers get to see the impact of their work.”

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