Northwest Indigenous skater takes front page of US magazine

Northwest Indigenous skater takes front page of US magazine

Feature article shows 15-year old from Terrace as inspiration to North American readership

It’s taken more than just a pair of skates to keep Teysean’s feet on the ice.

Gitxsan-Tsimshian member Teysean Angeline Henry, 15, from Terrace will be featured on the front cover of Native Hoop, a popular US magazine showcasing Indigenous success.

“This young woman is amazing and she’s going to go far. She puts in the work, she goes through a condition on her heel that can be very painful and still skates through it,” says Joleen Brown, president of Native Hoop from her New Mexico office.

“In Indian country, many people would just give up but she doesn’t, she just keeps going.”

Brown says that 2018 has been a difficult year, especially for Indigenous people throughout the US and Canada. She wanted to reveal something positive in the magazine’s latest issue instead of more hardship. By including Teysean, she says she hopes the communities will have someone to look up to, and know that anything is possible.

The December cover of Native Hoop Magazine featuring Teysean Angeine Henry.

Native Hoop is a monthly magazine founded in 2009 with a readership in 37 countries. Ran as a non-profit, all the content is created by and about Indigenous North Americans, with the aim of promoting their talents in the 100-200 page magazine.

READ MORE: A golden circus act

Seven years ago Teysean was the first Canadian to be featured. The publication is now following up on her success since that first appearance.

Teysean says it’s been a difficult journey with skating but that she’s proud to be recognized, especially given her heritage.

“A lot of Natives don’t get this far in sports and they can’t really afford a lot,” says Teysean. “I feel like there’s a little bit of discrimination… (so) I see a lot of teenagers not believing in themselves, in anything, and putting themselves down.”

Teysean has been skating for nine years and has competed in numerous competitions throughout B.C, with an upcoming super series competition in Kelowna come March 2019.

But with costs of over $5,000 per year to keep her on the ice, her career is dependent on the continuous support from the broad First Nations’ community. Her family runs fundraisers year round and seeks out grants for lessons, competitions and costumes.

In the featured article, Teysean acknowledges her parents and everything they’ve done to keep her in the sport. Oftentimes, says Brown, families have financial troubles that keep them from enrolling their children into an extracurricular activity. She says she wanted to share Teysean’s story to help people see how they could still achieve their own goals.

“Being Native, it’s much harder for us to do things than it is for the average mainstream person. A lot of people don’t realize the work it takes to promote themselves or the work to get to these positions,” Brown says. “In some reserves, especially in some of the poorest ones, you don’t have opportunities for anything.”

READ MORE: Indigenous athletes honoured at Premier Awards

Teysean has a big fan base in Lax Kw’alaams (Port Simpson), which is her father’s hometown. Robyn Henry, her mother, says everyone there has been extremely supportive of her journey.

“We go back annually there and they all know her name, they’re our main source of fundraising,” says Robyn. “We held a big loonie auction and they almost paid for half of her skating year with one big fundraiser.”

She adds First Nations are very keen on encouraging their people and after continuously being asked about Teysean, she had to set up a Facebook fan page where she regularly posts announcements and content about her skating.

For Teysean, however, skating is not just twirls, jumps and title wins. According to Robyn, they originally put Teysean into the sport to overcome a severe anxiety disorder.

“When she was a pre-junior, the anxiety was almost to the point where she wasn’t talking to anybody,” says Robyn. “The coaches were shocked anytime she talked.”

She’s attended counselling for her anxiety and Robyn says it’s clear that skating has helped improve her condition.

“When I’m on the ice, I feel relief somehow and that I’m in my own world,” says Teysean.

She says that she hopes to make it to college with skating and has considered auditioning for Disney On Ice. But most importantly, she adds that she wants her fans to know anything is possible and to “not let anyone sabotage you just because of your culture.”

Her mother says that it’s been a surreal experience having this all happen to “normal people like us.”

”We feel like we’ve been working for a very long time just to keep her in skating — that’s all we’re trying to do.”

Teysean will be in this year’s Kla-How-Ya skating competition, an event that brings together all the skating clubs across northwest B.C. It will be hosted by The Terrace Skating Club at the Sportsplex from Nov. 30 – Dec. 2. The event is free for the public to attend.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

(Kailyn Larkin/Photo)

(Kailyn Larkin/Photo)

(Kailyn Larkin/Photo)

(Kailyn Larkin/Photo)

(Kailyn Larkin/Photo)

(Kailyn Larkin/Photo)

Just Posted

This Dec. 2, 2020, file photo provided by Johnson & Johnson shows vials of the COVID-19 vaccine in the United States. (Johnson & Johnson via AP)
Interior Health notes 80 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend

108 people in the region have died from the virus

The Fraser River is seen west of Williams Lake from Doc English Bluff Ecological Reserve. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Tsilhqot’in National Government appeals Gibraltar Mines’ permit to discharge into Fraser River

Permit amendments fail to adequately protect the environment and human health, says TNG

The Horsefly Community Hall will be the site of a mobile vaccine clinic March 19, 2021. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Six COVID-19 vaccine clinics to open in Cariboo Chilcotin

100 Mile, Alexis Creek, Big Lake, Horsefly, Williams Lake and Tatla Lake

A Williams Lake area family living on Knife Creek Road lost everything to a house fire on Wednesday, March 3. (Photo submitted)
House fire destroys rural family home south of Williams Lake

The Macdonalds built their home on Knife Creek Road about 30 years ago

A special committee has been appointed to look at reforming B.C.’s police act and is inviting the public to make submissions until April 30, 2021. (Black Press media file)
Public input sought for B.C.’s police act review

Submissions will be accepted until April 30

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Cottonwoods Care Home in Kelowna. (Google Maps)
New COVID-19 outbreak at Kelowna care home includes fully vaccinated seniors: Henry

Two staff and 10 residents tested positive at Cottonwoods Care Centre

Excerpts from a conversation between Bria Fisher and the fake truLOCAL job. Fisher had signed a job agreement and was prepared to start work for what she thought was truLOCAL before she learned it was a scam. (Contributed)
B.C. woman warning others after losing $3,000 in job scam

Bria Fisher was hired by what she thought was a Canadian company, only to be out thousands

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix provide a regular update on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, March 2, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 cases: 545 Saturday, 532 Sunday, 385 Monday

Focus on Prince Rupert, Lower Mainland large workplaces

Rising accident rates and payout costs have contributed to billion-dollar deficits at ICBC. (Comox Valley Record)
B.C. appealing decision keeping ICBC injury cases in court

David Eby vows to ‘clip wings’ of personal injury lawyers

(Black Press Media files)
Hosts charged, attendees facing COVID fines after Vancouver police bust party at condo

Police had previously received 10 complaints about that condo

Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen takes part in an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. A joint federal and B.C. government housing program announced today aims to help people living in up to 25,000 vulnerable households pay their rent. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Federal, B.C. governments announce $517-million rent aid program to help vulnerable

Benefits for those not eligible for B.C.’s Rental Assistance Program or Shelter Aid for Elderly Renters

Most Read