Mediaplanet had the pleasure of speaking with Brigette Lacquette, the first First Nations player on Canada’s Olympic women’s hockey team.

Mediaplanet: Where did your love for hockey come from?

Brigette Lacquette: Growing up, I always loved sports. I played every sport possible. I grew up having to face different obstacles and my first one was being bullied for a lot of different things. I found an out through sports — hockey especially. I fell in love with it, and I was able to forget about everything else happening in my life.

MP: Who are your role models?

BL: My parents. They’ve taught me a lot throughout my life, encouraged me when I needed it, and for that I’m grateful. Hockey related, I’d say Jordin Tootoo. When he made the World Juniors I thought that was amazing for someone from such an isolated community to make it to the world stage and the NHL. Pretty cool.

MP: You are now a role model to many First Nations girls — what advice do you have for them about pursuing their dreams?

BL: Through my story I am able to share that you can achieve anything that you set your mind to. It’s going to take a lot of hard work, determination, and perseverance but it’s worth it. Be kind, work hard, and stay humble.

MP: How do you think Canadians can become better supporters of Indigenous communities?

BL: Take the time to learn and understand who we are. Learn our history, because our history is the reason our people are the way they are today. That’s key to understanding the setbacks we are faced with today.

MP: What do you think is the biggest issue facing Indigenous youth today?

BL: Having consistent family support and leaving their comfort zone, including their home and what they know. For example, I had to move away to play hockey when I was a teenager — I moved from Mallard, MB to Kelowna, BC. It was tough to leave my family, but I knew I had their support and that if I wanted to play at the next level, I was going to have to make that decision to move away.

MP: If you could, what would you tell your 10-year-old self?

BL: I would tell her not to give up, stay motivated, and to keep working hard.