Kwanah Sioui-Moar, alias The Cree Arrow, is set to soar even higher in the coming year, thanks to much-needed experience gained in his first year in Senior Elite Mountain Biking.
Sioui-Moar finished a solid fourth in a Canada Cup race in Bromont this past May against racers from across Canada. This result enabled him to compete on the world stage at Mont Ste-Anne later the next month. Unfortunately, he was unable to finish due to mechanical problems. As a result of a few other DNF’s (did not finish), he ended the season without enough races to qualify for an official rank.
One of the things he hopes to work on is hiring a personal mechanic to help him out with these types of incidents. The big problem is cash; entering these races, as well as travelling expenses, and the aforementioned cost of a personal mechanic eats up a large amount of money. Even with numerous sponsors like Etnies, Spy Optic and Yeti bikes, Sioui-Moar still lacks the necessary funds to compete on the same financial level with most of the other racers. He did want to point out the fact that he also gets financial support from Josie Jimikin, the Chief of Nemaska, Gordon Blackned, the Director General of the Cree School Board and Marcel Happyjack, a youth Chief from Waswanipi. ‘Thanks to them I was able to go to Whistler to compete in the National Championships.”
Son of a Cree father and a Huron mother, he feels the support of both Nations when he’s racing. “There are people who follow my races that I don’t even know,” he says. “There are a lot of people on both sides who’ve helped me.”
This support is what instills in him the confidence that’s needed to win on every level he has ever competed on. He is used to success, having at one point won 21 out of 36 events he entered. Although the adjustment of his first year in Senior Elite brought him back down to earth a little bit.
His disappointing results from last year have been a vital learning experience that he has been able to use to his advantage. Next year, he will know what to expect, and along with the experience he gained, he feels that he will be competitive enough to at least finish in the top five. He will be out to prove himself on the Senior Elite circuit starting in May 2004.
Along with his success came recognition as one of the Aboriginal Athletes of the Year by being presented with the Tom Longboat Award this past year. His name is synonymous with success, and it’s becoming known throughout the Native world, and hopefully soon, throughout the rest of North America and the world. “Being recognized by the Indian community was a very, very exciting thing to have happen in my life.”
When asked whom he looked up to as setting a great example for himself to follow, Sioui-Moar chose Jordin Tootoo, the first Inuit hockey player to make the NHL. “The speed bumps that he hit in his life, while still being able to get past that makes him a very good example to every young Aboriginal person.”
The support he has received from the Huron village, from everyone in Eeyou Istchee, as well as from his family has been invaluable over the years. “People don’t only support me by giving money, they support me by coming out to see me race, and in other ways.”
Sioui-Moar has had a profound effect on aboriginal youth, as well. “When the other kids see me training and racing instead of going to a bar, it sets a good example. As much as people like to have fun, that’s not all there is to life.”