National Indigenous Coaching Awards Recipients


Savanna Smith

Savanna is an international level lacrosse coach from Surrey, British Columbia. She has had the pleasure of coaching at the North American Indigenous Games multiple times, leading her team to the podium each time. She has also coached at the international level, serving as the Team Manager for the 2019 Haudenosaunee Female Lacrosse Team for the 2019 World Lacrosse U19 Women's Lacrosse Championships. She is a well-known and well-respected Box and Field Lacrosse coach. Savanna embeds Indigenous culture and traditional practices into coaching, ensuring that her athletes are developing holistically.

Tyndall Fontaine

Tyndall is an international level lacrosse coach from Fort Alexander, Manitoba. His commitment to personal growth and development has been unwavering, these qualities have led him to coach at the North American Indigenous Games, to serving many roles in both Indigenous and mainstream lacrosse associations, to serving as Assistant Coach for Team Poland in the World Junior Lacrosse Championships in 2022. Tyndall's strives to be a positive influence in the community and with his athletes, regardless of their level of play.


Renée Sonnenberg

Renée Sonnenberg is the consummate coach who found her ultimate calling via successful careers in teaching and high-performance competition. Renée is not only a shining example of achieving coaching excellence to the highest degree, but she is also in constant pursuit of self-improvement and learning and is now investing in the growth of coaching by mentoring and guiding Indigenous coaches and athletes.

Along with her absolute commitment to continuous learning and self-improvement, Renée exemplifies kindness, fair play, sportsmanship and character.

Renée is always smiling, encouraging, and supportive. She treats everyone around her with respect and embodies what we prioritize as "safe sport" values and principles.

Jeff Ross

Coach Ross is a national level volleyball coach, who currently coaches at Douglas College.

He is involved at all levels in the sport of volleyball. From the grassroots sport and player development to high performance coaching with Volleyball Canada's National Women's program, to his involvement with Indigenous sport through the North American Indigenous Games teams.

In addition to mentorship and professional development, Coach Ross is involved at the grassroots sport development in the club volleyball system within Volleyball BC which allows him to remain grounded in the foundational aspects of coaches, and community engagement.

His passion to give back to the Indigenous community through self-initiated Indigenous youth sport development programs in Saskatchewan, and Yukon which are meaningful, purposeful and inspirational.


Leanne Sirup
National Level Swim Coach
(British Columbia)

Leanne is a national level swim coach who has coaches at both the Canada Games and the North American Indigenous Games. Leanne has assisted in developing and implementing the Indigenous Community Leadership Program in British Columbia. Throughout the COVID pandemic Leanne continued to engage with her athletes, running Zoom programming and having regular check-ins with her athletes. Leanne provides a variety of programs for her athletes including strength and conditioning programs, outdoor activities and open water swimming.

Patrick Leask
Softball Coach

Patrick Leask is a softball coach in Manitoba. What began as a way for him to stay connected to his children became an opportunity for him to mentor young athletes. Throughout the pandemic, Patrick hosted as many clinics as he could with the restrictions that were in place. He partnered with Sport Manitoba to make the sport more accessible to the young people in his community. Patrick offers free clinics to youth ages 7-16, encouraging athletes who have never played before to try the sport. Patrick is committed to removing barriers Indigenous athletes may have accessing sport in their community.


Meagan Wilson
Iroquois Roots Rugby
(Six Nations of the Grand River)

Meagan is the Head Coach and Co-founder of Iroquois Roots Rugby. She has is currently coaching age athletes from ages 5-10, including the U18 Rugby 7s team and the mini rugby group at her club, as well as a high school girls' team. When developing the Iroquois Roots Rugby model she stressed the importance of cultural and traditional workshops being apart of the camps as she felt this provides Indigenous youth a sense of self and community at these camps and workshops. Meagan has showed great commitment to growing the sport of rugby and providing an inclusive and welcoming environment.

Gregory Meconse
Team Manitoba
(Pinaymootang First Nation)

Gregory started his path to coaching as an elite level soccer player who in the past two years has transitioned to his current role as coach. Gregory is an Indigenous soccer coach with Team Manitoba from Pinaymootang First Nation. Gregory will be coaching with Team Manitoba at the 2020 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) and will be able to share his experiences from NAIG with his athletes.