SIX NATIONS — Under coaches Melanie Squire and Angus Goodleaf, the inaugural Iroquois Women’s Rugby Team was announced on Monday February 7, and is set to compete in the Fort Niagara State Park in two months on April 9 at the Fourth Annual Battle For The Border International 7’s Tournament.
“It’s with immense pride that we announce the roster for our Inaugural Women’s team! This amazing group of women will represent Iroquois Roots Rugby as they compete in the Battle of the Borders rugby tournament in Queenston, New York in April! We are so excited to watch this team compete,” reads the Iroquois Rugby Facebook page.
The roster includes 12 athletes: Ava Hill, Melody Courchene, Rachel Miller, Jacy Hill, Kiana McNaughton, Cara Hill, Meagan Wilson, Larisa Skye, Shaina Skye, Katelyn Heyens, Veronica Harrigan, and Kyleigh Dobson.
The 7’s Tournament, will include all ages with divisions spanning men and women’s senior club and college, boys and girls U19 and U14, and U12 co-ed flag, with hopes to span the port to a larger audience.
Iroquois Roots Rugby was cofounded by a mother-daughter duo Melanie Squire and player Wilson who are Mohawk Nation and Turtle Clan of Six Nations.
Wilson is a National University Rugby Champion, McMaster Women’s Rugby 2015. She has been awarded Provincial and National Indigenous Coach of the Year awards. While just 24, has coached at the high school, club and University level.
The program began in 2017 with a pilot camp in Six Nations and has rolled out into other First Nations communities. In 2021, the program began its First Nation School outreach and visited all 133 communities in Ontario.
The basis of the group is to promote rugby to Indigenous youth while honouring culture and recognizing the unique environments of First Nations communities in Ontario.