Ringside with world champion boxer Mary Spencer

Ringside with world champion boxer Mary Spencer

As part of Aboriginal Education Month, Humber staff and students got to spend a morning throwing punches at an Olympic boxer.

Fortunately, she didn’t punch back.

Mary Spencer, a three-time world champion and a member of the Cape Croker First Nation, led an intense boxing workout for staff and students in the North Campus gym.

In a Q-and-A following the session, the 27-year-old, who reached the quarter-finals of the 2012 London Olympics, told participants that her culture is intensely important.

“I’m not just proud of being a female boxer, or a First Nations athlete,” she explained. “I’m all those things – a female, Aboriginal boxer. All of those aspects are vital to who I am.”

Along with her training regimen, Spencer works with Motivate Canada’s Gen 7, a program designed to connect Aboriginal youth with sports. As a Gen 7 Messenger, Spencer travels to Aboriginal communities, acting as a motivator and facilitator, getting youth involved in sports and encouraging leadership.

“For me, sports is a universal language,” Spencer says. “It’s a way of connecting beyond language. You don’t necessarily need to say ‘I care about you’ in words – you can show it by showing someone the right way to throw a ball, or by playing a game. I’ve seen involvement in sports make a significant change in someone’s life.”

Aboriginal Education Month celebrations continue with a powwow at the North Campus on Monday, November 19, from 12-3. There will be dancing, drumming, and an Aboriginal art sale.

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