Six Nations talent recognized as Indigenous hall of fame announces 2023 class

By TRT Staff with notes from

The North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame announced its second class of inductees on Wednesday, February 1.

Founded in 2022 by Dan Ninham, Oneida, and his wife Susan, Red Lake Ojibwe; this year’s class features more than 75 new athletes, coaches and teams to receive the honor for their athletic achievements and contributions to their respective sports.

Ninham is a regular contributor to ICT and has been involved with Indigenous athletics for more than 40 years.

Jim Thorpe is considered one of the more nationally recognizable names on the list, however, faces seen closer to home were also announced and recognized for their effort and contributions to their respective sports.

Awehiyo Thomas, Dean Hill, Delby Powless, Glenn Styres, Kevin Sandy, Oliver “Cap” Bomberry, Roger Vyse, and Ross Powless were each inducted with ties to Six Nations.

Highlights for each include:

Awehiyo Thomas: Thomas (Beautiful Flower) is Cayuga Nation, Wolf Clan. She played competitive lacrosse on the international, NCAA DI and professional stage, with many Player ofthe Game awards. She was a proud member of the Haudenosaunee National Women’s Lacrosse (HNWL) Team for many years, competing on the world stage in 2009, 2013 and 2017. In 2018, she was the first Haudenosaunee woman to play professional lacrosse with the Baltimore Ride in the UWLX league. Most recently, she was a member of the HNWL Sr. Team which placed first at the Pan American Lacrosse Association in 2019.

Dean Hill: Hill, of the Mohawk Nation, enjoyed a very successful Jr. B lacrosse career with the Six Nations Rebels and the St. Catharines Spartans, which led him to being drafted by the Minnesota Swarm of the National Lacrosse League. He would play 10 seasons in the NLL recording 247 points in the regular season and adding 12 more in the playoffs. Hill was known as a power play specialist who many considered to have the best one-timer in the game. Sadly, Hill passed away due to complications in his sleep September 6, 2021 at the age of 36.

Delby Powless: Powless, of the Mohawk Nation, played five seasons with the Six Nations Junior A Arrows lacrosse club and is currently the team’s All-time leading scorer with 686 total points. While attending Herkimer County Community College, Powless was twice named All-American. He transferred to D1 Rutgers University where he led the Scarlet Knights in scoring both years and was a 2x All-American, while leading Rutgers to 2 NCAA tournament appearances. Powless was drafted 1st overall in the 2004 National Lacrosse League entry draft by the Buffalo Bandits and helped them win the Champions Cup in 2008. Powless also played in Major League Lacrosse with Toronto Nationals winning the Steinfeld Cup in 2009.

Glenn Styres: Styres has been a racing industry leader for 30 years. Styres success has been validated internationally by being voted the North American Sprint Car Promoter of the Year eight times. Behind the wheel he was a multi-time champion at his home track, the Ohsweken Speedway and on tour winning the Southern Ontario Sprints Tour Championship multiple times.

Kevin Sandy: Sandy belongs to the Lower Cayuga Nation, Wolf Clan, and was the first General Manager of the Six Nations Arrows Lacrosse team who went on to become the first Indigenous team in the world to win the Minto Cup Canadian Jr. A Lacrosse Championship in 1992. He enjoyed visiting families, bringing the players together, to come home and believe in a dream to compete at the highest level possible in their sport of choice. He’s been the General Manager of the Six Nations Rebels who won Canadian and Ontario Lacrosse Championships in the late 1990’s. Sandy has helped build, plan and organize the Haudenosaunee National teams who won silver at the 2007 World Indoor Lacrosse Championships (Halifax, NS) and 2008, U-19 World Field Lacrosse Team (Coquitlam, BC).

Oliver “Cap” Bomberry: Bomberry played for the Oshweken Warriors from 1959 to 1973 and won the President’s Cup in 1964, 1967 and 1968. He was involved in minor organization from 1975 to 1988 and was a Team/General Manager with the Jr. A Arrows from 1990 to 1992 winning the Minto Cup in 1992. This was the first indigenous team to win the Minto Cup. He was also the GM for the Six Nations Chiefs from 1993 to 1997 winning the Mann Cup in 1994, 1995, and 1996. Cap was President and GM of the Six Nations Rivermen from 2013 to 2019 winning the President’s Cup in 2015 and 2019. Bomberry has been inducted into the Ontario Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 1997 in the Builder Category. He was also inducted into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame in 2001 as a Builder, became an Ontario Lacrosse Association (OLA) Life Member in 2006 and was presented with the OLA President’s Award.

Roger Vyse: Vyse is Mohawk, and member of the turtle clan from Six Nations, Ontario Canada. Growing up on the Six Nations reserve, lacrosse was the dominant sport especially in Vyse’s family. Vyse played lacrosse for over 30 years starting at the age of four years old until he retired at the age of 36. Along the way Vyse was a long-standing member of the Iroquois Nationals box and field lacrosse teams starting in 1999 with the under 19 bronze medalists in Adalaide, Australia. Vyse attended Herkimer Community College where he started on attack and was a 2x All American. In his second and final season at Herkimer in 2003, Vyse and his teammates won the NJCAA championship going 18-0 on the season. Vyse played lacrosse at Limestone College Division II. Limestone would make the Division II finals both seasons (2004, 2005) but come up short losing both games in overtime. In Vyse’s final season at Limestone, he broke the Division’s 34-year-old goals per season record by one goal (71). He led the team in goals and tied for most assist (71 goals, 29 assists = 100 points) in his final season of college lacrosse. Vyse would be drafted into the National Lacrosse League 13th overall in 2006 by the Buffalo Bandits.

Ross Powless: Considered one of the fathers of modern lacrosse in Canada, Ross Powless was born in Ohsweken Ontario, on the Six Nations of the Grand River in 1926. Belonging to the Turtle Clan. Between 1951 and 1953, he won three consecutive Canadian Senior A championship titles with the Peterborough Timbermen. In 1951 and 1952, he claimed the Tom Longboat Award twice as the most outstanding First Nations athlete in Ontario. In 1953, he was awarded the Mike Kelley Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player in Canadian Senior A lacrosse. As player-coach of Hamilton Lincoln Burners Senior “A” team between 1956 and 1958, Ross won every Ontario Lacrosse Association trophy he was eligible to claim, including Top Scorer, Most Valuable Player, Best Defensive Player and Coach of the Year. Among his many coaching highlights, Ross led the Canadian Senior Men’s Lacrosse Team to defeat the United States at Expo ‘67 in Montreal. His son, Gaylord Powless, who was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 2017, stands out as one of the great lacrosse players taught and inspired by Ross.


SIX NATIONS — The North American Indigenous Athletics Hall of Fame announced its second class of inductees on Wednesday, February 1. Among the athletes were Awehiyo Thomas, Dean Hill, Delby Powless, Glenn Styres, Kevin Sandy, Oliver “Cap” Bomberry, Roger Vyse, and Ross Powless, who were each inducted. Photo submitted.

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