Nominations of Indian athletes for the Tom Longboat Award are still being sought by award organizers.
The deadline for nominations, originally set for December 6, 1985, has been extended to April 20, 1986. The regional winners and the national winner will be selected during May and the National award will be presented to the winner at the VIIth Annual Chiefs' Assembly in St. John's Newfoundland, in June.
Canadian Status Indian athletes are eligible for the award. Nomination forms or letters of recommendation must be completed by recognized leaders in the community such as a Chief, Band councillor or teacher.
The Tom Longboat Award is named after one of Canada's most distinguished athletes, a long distance runner from the Six Nations Reserve in southern Ontario. Longboat achieved world fame at the turn of the century with his dramatic victories, including the famed Boston Marathon in 1907 and many other major distance events.
He represented Canada at the 1908 Olympics in London, England, but lost due to sun stroke after building up a lengthy lead.
Tom Longboat continued to race competitively until he enlisted in 1916, with the Scout Section of the 180th Sportmen's battalion of the Indian Expeditionary Force Association. Wounded in WWI, as a dispatch runner with the Queen Victoria Grenadiers, he returned in 1919.
He lived on the Six Nations Reserve until the time of his death of 1949.
The 1984 winner of the Tom Longboat Award was Alwyn Morris (who also won the award in 1977), a Mohawk Indian from Kahnawake, Quebec, who was a gold and bronze medalist in Kayaking at the 1984 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Between 1980 and 1984, Morris' achievements included: The Canadian 1-man kayak champion - 500 and 1,000 metres; fifth place in the 2-man kayak 500 metres and sixth place in K-2 - 1,000 metres at the World Championships in England; a silver medal
in K-2 - 1,000 metres at the World Championships in Yugoslavia; a bronze medal in K-2
- 500 metres a the World Championships in Finland.
With his partner Hugh Fisher of Burnaby, B.C., Morris earned his place in world sports history at the 1984 Olympics by winning the bronze medal in the K-2 - 500 metre event and the gold medal in the K-2 - 1,000 metre event, thus helping Canada in its most productive ever Olympics.
Few Canadians who watched the subsequent awards ceremony, particularly Indians, will forget Morris holding an eagle feather aloft during the playing of Canada's national anthem.
Besides continuing training and competing since the Olympics Morris has also involved himself heavily as a role model for Indian youth in Canada. During the just-completed International Youth year he was a special ambassador for Canada, a member
of the Board of Directors of the Sports Federation of Canada, a consultant to the National Native Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program and consultant to the Canadian Council for Native Business, to name a few.
The six-time champion of Canadian singles kayaking has also received many civic and provincial honours, including being selected 1984 Quebec Co-Athlete of the Year.
In recognition of his many achievements, the 1985 organizing committee of the Grey Cup Game selected him as Grand Marshall of the Grey Cup parade.
The Tom Longboat Trophy and medals have been awarded each year since 1953 to a First Nations person who has made a significant contribution in athletic endeavours at the national, provincial, territorial and local levels.
In order to qualify for the Tom Longboat award nominees must be regional medal winners selected by provincial/territorial organizations of the Assembly of First Nations/National Indian Brotherhood. The award winner is selected by a committee comprised of two AFN/NIB representatives, two representatives from Sports Canada and a member of the Longboat family.
Presentation of the Tom Longboat Award of Canada receives national media coverage. The winner is presented with a small version of the original Tm Longboat trophy. This award serves to preserve the memory of Tom Longboat, and also to encourage First Nations amateur athletes to compete in amateur sports.
The Tom Longboat Trophy is given to the most outstanding Canadian Indian athlete, male or female, who exemplifies excellence in the following categories:
A. Athletic Achievement: - Outstanding personal achievement in amateur sports, either team or individual, at the local (town, Reserve, or County), Provincial, National or International level. Adequate information over a long period of time should be included.
B. Leadership and Organizational Abilities: Contributions made to sport and recreation development at the Band/Reserve, Provincial or the National level.
C. Personal Character: Image and sportsmanship shown within the sports community as well as esteem held by general community.
Nomination forms or letters of recommendation must be mailed by April 30, 1986 to: AFN Award Committee, 47 Clarence Street, 3rd Floor, Ottawa, Ontario. Telephone (613) 236-0673 for more information.