Omar Constant is in Halifax as an Assistant Coach with the Team Manitoba Archery Squad. The resident of Opaskwiyak Cree Nation, near The Pas, Manitoba is a participant in the Aboriginal Apprentice Coaching Program.
“We started an Archery Club in my community, several years ago. Tom Paukovic (Team Manitoba’s Head Coach) came up and did a clinic with us. It kind of took off from there.”
Constant has been involved at differnt levels in Archery since becoming involed in the sport about eleven years ago.
“I went to the North American Indigenous Games as a support person, technical person, coach and as an athlete, when they held the event in Winnipeg in 2001” he says.
After a successful exerience at those Games, Constant says he just got further involved in the sport as a means of doing something for his community.
Despite only having access to a facility where his club can shoot once a week, Constant has seen Archery have a positive impact in his community, as well as in the 5 other First Nations communities that are close by.
“I’ve had parents come up to me and say ‘thank you’ for introducing their kid to archery, he said. “We gotten kids away from alcohol and drugs, and we’ve also gotten them away from the video games and computers. They come out and they socialize and don’t spend so much time ‘gaming'”
Constant was quick to acknowledge a number of people whom he described as mentors, including Paukovic, but also giving a special nod to Robert Legace of The Pas. The former owner of an archery shop was described as “the guy who really got me started in archery” according to Constant.
He went on to say that he is enjoying the Aboriginal Apprectice Coaching Program. Constant especially enjoys being able to meet coaches with different levels of experience and to share the knowledge they have. He also feels that his experience at the Canada Games is going to be of tremendous benefit when he returns home.
“I can take what i have learned here and seen how things are done and use that to help archers from the North if they want to try to qualify for the Games in the future.”