(ANNews) – Owen Brest (19) and Kiseyotin White (17), two young Indigenous men from Saddle Lake, have joined the Edmonton Huskies of the Canadian Junior Football League (CJFL).
Brest, who is now 19 years old, started football in Grade six. “Position-wise, I came out of high school as an ‘athlete,” said Brest, who is also a multi-positional player, but primarily plays running back.
White, who is now 17, started his football career in Grade nine. His primary position is on the offensive line – in high school, he played as an offensive tackle. “In the CJFL, I think I will be playing offensive guard, then maybe move to tackle,” said White. “A couple of friends encouraged me to try out [for the football team] with them in Grade six,” White continued.
They also spoke on what it was like to be Indigenous people in the CJFL.
White said, “I’m not sure there are other Natives on the team; as far as I know it is just Owen and me, but it feels like any other person making it on the team. There’s not much of a difference. I mean, yeah, we might have different coloured skin, but under that we are all the same, we all breathe the same air, and we all think the same.
“But it feels good making it on a CJFL team and being Native at the same time. As Native men, we don’t get too many opportunities, so with that being said, I am happy and grateful for this opportunity.”
Brest stated, “I’m not sure if we’re the only Indigenous people on the team; I do know there are a couple throughout the CJFL.
“But being a Native playing a sport after high school makes me work even harder because I want to inspire Native youth. I believe there is so much talent across Canada when it comes to First Nations, Inuit, Métis, and sport.”
Both Brest and White have a huge love for the sport and it shows when they speak about it. Brest said that he loves football because of “the life lessons it can teach you and the lifetime relationships you build.”
White credits his love for the sport to the inclusivity of it all. “Some people might be taller than others, some people might be heavier than others, but that’s okay. Other than that we are all the same. Football is different than other sports because you can be tall, short, light, heavy; because football has a place for every shape and size.”
Jacob Cardinal is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter.