Mary Spencer and her “children”


It is June 21st. Summer solstice day. Sunday. It is also the National Day of Indigenous Peoples. Then the celebration of the solidarity of the First Nations people for boxer Mary Spencer.

I was a million miles from thinking I was queuing up for an article about Aboriginal summer solstice celebrations on my way to Marc Ramsay’s gym.

There were Erik Bazinyan, Steven Butler, Artem Oganesyan and above all Ramsay, small and clumsy eyes, returning from New York with a lot of stories in his bag.

But when I started chatting with Mary Spencer, everything took a turn for the worse. On the day of publication, the story and especially her, this tall, beautiful, sensitive and determined woman, everything fell into place.


You should know that the desk aces who correct my chronicles know that I have the gift of misspelling names. It must be some form of dyslexia. But here, I broke my record. It was written by Mary Spencer’s own wife. Thus, from the age of 2, Mary found herself in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, an Aboriginal community in Northern Ontario. Her father, a proud Ojibwa of the Cape Croker First Nation, and her mother from Chicago lived there for several years. Mary grew up in the spirit of the First Nations.

Poses with children from the community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Ontario.

Photo courtesy of Mary Spencer

Poses with children from the community of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Ontario.

Then the family moved to the city. And Mary discovered boxing.

“Boxing has forged me. I learned that I could have a bad day at school and be miserable at night and be extraordinarily happy the next day thanks to boxing, ”she says.

Her fabulous career at the Olympic Games, Pan American Games and World Championships, her epic rivalry with Ariane Fortin, her life has been full of exploits and successes.

But in 2010 he found out what boxer Kent Brown was doing in Cross Lake, 10 hours north of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He inquired, visited and saw the success of his work with Aboriginal youth. He began to get involved to the point of receiving numerous awards for his work and dedication to Aboriginal causes.


Then, in 2016, she found herself in Kashechewan, Northern Ontario. It is a Cree community. She was offered a teaching position.

“Then one day, with my gear, gloves and stuff, I started introducing kids to boxing. It was like a revelation, “she says.

Of course, the children discovered boxing. But they were discovering the sport. The competition. And above all the sense of discipline and commitment. Mary told them that when she was 10 or 11 she wanted basketball shoes. She dreamed of those $ 120 shoes. She For weeks she collected empty bottles until she bought the shoes. Later, as a teenager, she participated in the Native Games in the United States … in basketball.

So with determination and hard work, great things could be achieved.


Mary Spencer, by dint of persuasion, managed to build a boxing ring in a disused room. So, old man coaches sent him used equipment.

“But the children’s achievements touched my heart. I have lived in Kash for two years. I have seen children develop. These were great moments in my life. It is many of those years in Kash that have inspired me to turn pro and resume my career. I wanted to remain an example and all those hours in the ring had rekindled the flame, “she says.

Today Mary is married to a Quebecer. Her career and her personal life take up a lot of her time. But she follows the progress of her boys in Kash. She talks to them, analyzes their performance in training and tells them about her adventures with the pros.

Always in harmony with the spirit of the First Nations …


After her training, she is a machine of speed and power, we talked about Marie-Ève ​​Dicaire with her coach Ian MacKillop and Anson Wainwright, British journalist from Ring magazinelanded at the gym for Thursday’s gala.

Mary was very careful not to hurt anyone. But the consensus among the other participants in the conversation was clear.

Marie-Ève ​​Dicaire will go as far as possible from Mary Spencer …

PS The Christmas party has replaced an ancient pagan festival which celebrated on December 21st, the winter solstice. Therefore, since it is pagan, we can celebrate it without offending Valérie Plante.


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