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Papi White reflects on his impact in the Indigenous community ahead of National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

Ahead of this Saturday’s matchup against Winnipeg ― also a game where the Tiger-Cats will recognize the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation ― Seminole, Oklahoma native Papi White is proud to reflect on his Native American heritage.

With a background of Seminole, Cree, and Chickasaw, White has made an impact on the Indigenous community in Canada. Along with being one of few Indigenous members in the CFL, he has also made an impact away from football.

Earlier this year, White had the opportunity to visit Six Nations and play some games with Indigenous youth, and while it was different than other things he has done in the past, it made him feel good to be positively impacting Indigenous youth in the community.

“Just to see them looking up to us when they don’t even know us, it made me feel like a better person,” he said.

Learning the basics of some traditional Native games like lacrosse and just playing schoolyard games, White shared how it was just fun and exciting to be able to have that experience with the kids.

“I want them to know that, honestly, with hard work and dedication, you can do anything you set your mind to,” he said.

Last season, White scored his first touchdown in the CFL during the Labour Day rematch in Toronto. The touchdown ball was thrown by none other than Dane Evans, who also has a Native American background. In a great moment of representation for the Indigenous culture, White said that moment was made a little bit more special for him.

“Anytime you get a touchdown for the team it’s a great thing,” said White. “I feel like it’s even greater with both of us being Native.”

At the end of the day, White is just proud to be playing for his family and his people back home.

“Having that exposure to play for my people is very exciting,” he shared.

White is excited to be part of the growth of the Indigenous community in football, and with people like him being present with Indigenous youth, it will only continue to grow.

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