Ron Brown Honoured by Indigenous Sports Halls of Fame

WINNIPEG (April 28, 2022) – Racquetball Canada would like to congratulate Ron Brown who was inducted to the Manitoba Indigenous Sport Hall of Fame this past week and recently inducted into the North American Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame.

Brown, who has a long history with the sport of racquetball, was one of the inaugural members inducted to both all-Indigenous Halls of Fame, two of the first in North America. Brown is of Mi’kmaw ancestry and is a proud member of the Annapolis Valley Mi’kmaq First Nation in Cambridge, Nova Scotia.

“From baseball to racquetball, roller hockey to running, we celebrated the legacy, passion, and contribution made by our inductees,” stated the Manitoba Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Council (MASRC) in their news post about the Manitoba Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Brown was inducted along-side fourteen other honourees who have also made significant contributions to sport including Reggie Leach, Jocelyn Larocque, Angela Chalmers and Theoren Fleury.

“I am thrilled to be a member of these two Halls of Fame, but to be one of the first group of inductees to be honoured is pretty special.” said Brown. “I am very proud of my heritage and to be recognized in the midst of two incredible groups of Indigenous athletes and builders is humbling.”

“I am a true champion of racquetball,” said Brown. “I played all the other sports, but racquetball was and is my true passion. I am proud that racquetball was acknowledged as a highly competitive sport through my recognition.”

Brown spoke about the importance of the Manitoba Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame. “One of the primary reasons for the establishment of the Manitoba Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame is in answer to the ‘Calls to Action’ found in the Truth and Reconciliation Report. And to share important stories about Indigenous contribution to sport.” said Brown.

Call to Action #87 calls upon “all levels of government, in collaboration with Aboriginal peoples, sports halls of fame, and other relevant organizations, to provide public education that tells the national story of Aboriginal athletes in history.”

The goal of the North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame is to honour and recognize the Indigenous sport cultures of Canada and the United States by recognizing outstanding leadership and achievement in individual and team athletics. 

Brown’s story is an important one to share. His ancestry is passed down from his maternal grandmother, who lost many rights through the Gradual Enfranchisement Act of 1869. The Act, which later became part of the Indian Act, granted extreme control over those with First Nations status and marked the beginning of gender-based restrictions.

As a result, when Brown’s grandmother married a non-Native man, she was stripped of her First Nations status, as were any children from her marriage. It has been a generational fight for the reinstatement of rights for those who lost their status and it wasn’t until 2011 that Brown was granted his First Nations status.

Brown’s induction into the Manitoba Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame not only highlights his incredible contribution to sport but provides context as to why the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission is so important.

Brown’s current contribution to racquetball is at the governance level. He is Racquetball Canada’s representative to the International Racquetball Federation and the Pan American Racquetball Confederation. He also serves as a committee member with Racquetball Canada. But his legacy spans decades, highlighted by his involvement as a national team coach. Brown represented Canada as a coach at twenty international events over a period of twenty-six years. He also was the personal coach for several Canadian racquetball greats and served as the coach for Racquetball Canada’s National Training Centre in Winnipeg. He is a recipient of several awards including being a member of the Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and a recipient of Racquetball Canada’s Ivan Velan Award.

Brown has worked directly with programs targeted at those who are marginalized. As the manager of Supreme Racquet Club in Winnipeg, Brown ensured inner city youth in Winnipeg had the opportunity to learn and play racquetball. At the international level, Brown contributed to the development of coaches from other Pan American nations. He has continued his important work professionally through his current role as the President and CEO of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg, and as a volunteer with many critical community organizations including the Winnipeg Poverty Reduction Council, Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg, and the Winnipeg Indigenous Executive Circle.

Racquetball Canada congratulates Ron Brown on his achievements as he is honoured by Manitoba Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame and the North American Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame.

More information about the Manitoba Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame, including Ron Brown’s biography can be found by clicking here.

More information about the North American Indigenous Sports Hall of Fame can be found by clicking here.