June 10th, 2021 – Feeling Empowered through Sports: Stories from Female Athletes

The First Nations Health Authority (FNHA), Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (ISPARC), the BC Sports Hall of Fame and the UBC Learning Circle are hosting a panel of Indigenous athletes to share their journeys and stories of inspiration.

Feature panelists Justina di Stasio, Jasmine Montgomery-Reid, Yetko Bearshirt-Robins and Chief Lara Mussell Savage will share their athletic journeys and how sports and physical activity have become an empowering influence in their lives.

Join moderator Michelle Webster in celebrating our Indigenous women and their dedication to sports and pow-wow dancing.

Thank you for your interest and participation!

This session’s video is now available for viewing.

Thank you to everyone for your continued interest in our events.

We would like to reiterate that everyone is welcome to our UBCLC sessions.

Our events aim to embody a safe space for everyone of all different backgrounds to have their opinions and voices equally heard.

Date: Thursday, June 10th, 2021 (PST)
Time: 10 a.m. to 11:30 am
Where: Online via Zoom
View system requirements
Registration: required to participate

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About the Moderator:


Michelle Webster

Michelle Webster is the Manager of Sport Development and Community Engagement for ISPARC and a member of the Namgis First Nation. While completing her postsecondary education in Kansas, Michelle was a catcher for the KWU Coyotes women’s softball team for two seasons and then began her coaching career as assistant coach for two seasons and as interim head coach for one season.

She continues to coach softball as the Associate Head Coach for the UBC Okanagan Heat, Aboriginal Apprentice Coach for Team BC for Canada Summer Games and is serving as a Female Mentor Coach for Softball Canada. Michelle coached Team BC to a gold medal win at the 2014 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) as well as Team BC’s softball team for the 2017 NAIG.

About the Presenters:


Justina di Stasio

Justina Di Stasio is a member of the Canadian Women’s National Wrestling Team and is of Cree and Italian descent from Coquitlam, BC. A member of Norway House of Cree Nation in Manitoba, Justina started wrestling in sixth grade when she joined her middle school team and eventually went on to wrestle at the university level at Simon Fraser University. She won a gold medal at the 2018 UWW World Championships and the 2019 Pan American Games. She is currently the Olympic alternate for Tokyo 2021 and her goal is to be an Olympian in 2024.

Jasmine Montgomery-Reid

Jasmine Montgomery Reid raised in the Similkameen Valley is proudly a part of community to both Syilx Nation and Heiltsuk Nation. She identifies with both Nations and carries the traditional Syilx name of White Feather Woman and the Heiltsuk name of Wikv.

Jasmine has been a dedicated athlete playing collegiate basketball at Camosun College and Northwest Indian College giving her the opportunity to compete across Canada and the United States. She proudly supported the North American Indigenous Games as a coach for Team BC. Pursuing her passion for coaching, she facilitates basketball camps in Bella Bella, BC, the Interior region and Lummi Nation, WA.

Jasmine’s biggest support has been Peter Waardenburg, who coaches the Syilx Nation teams as well as the NAIG teams. From Peter, Jasmine learned the importance of humility and culture, on and off the court. She continues to use his teachings and knowledge to uplift and support other indigenous youth. The love and dedication to sports saved Jasmine’s life in many ways, including pushing her to return to her educational endeavours. Currently, Jasmine is in nursing school with the goal of bringing trauma-informed care with culturally competent safe practices to all Indigenous Peoples.


Yetko Bearshirt-Robins

Yetko Bearshirt Robins (nx̌aʕlkʷ) was born and raised in the unceded Syilx territory.

Yetko is proud of both her Blackfoot and Syilx cultures, and is actively learning both traditions and languages. She is currently attending the University of British Columbia Okanagan and pursuing her childhood goal of becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner.

Yetko’s family was actively involved in the powwow circle growing up and she made her entrance into the circle at the age of two when her parents created her first traditional regalia for her. Today, she dances all three categories: Fancy, Traditional and Jingle, but fell in love with Jingle at a young age and has stuck with it since.

Yetko is a role model to many young girls in the powwow circle and her proudest moments are when young girls ask her to teach them how to dance. Yetko’s biggest supporters are her family who have travelled with her for a number of hours and kilometers to powwows, provided regalia for her, and have provided emotional support through the years.


Chief Lara Mussell Savage, BKin, MBA

Lara Mussell Savage was raised both in Chilliwack and in the urban setting of Vancouver. Proud of her Sqwá First Nation (Stó:lō/Pilalt) ancestry and a dedicated athlete, Lara focuses her passion for sport on Indigenous sport and youth.  She graduated as a Wesbrook Scholar from UBC with a BKin in Sport Management and completed her MBA at SFU. In 2005, Lara was awarded Canada’s National Tom Longboat Award for Female Indigenous Athlete of the Year and has competed in four World Championships in the sport of Ultimate (Frisbee), winning two gold and two bronze medals. Lara’s career in sport has included management roles with UBC’s Department of Athletics & Recreation, Air Canada PGA Tour Championship and the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

Lara was the Project Manager, Aboriginal Sport & Youth for the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic & Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).  She currently serves as the Director of Sport with ISPARC and was inducted into the Chilliwack Sports Hall of Fame in 2016 for her achievements and contributions to sport.

Lara is also an ambassador for the #LeveltheField campaign that promotes gender equity in sport and is also a trustee for the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Since 2014, she has served as an elected councillor for her Nation and was elected as chief councillor in 2020.

Lara resides in Chilliwack, BC on the Sqwá Reserve, with her husband and two children.



  • Indigenous Sport Physical Activity and Recreation Council – website
  • Yetko’s Story Powerpoint slides – here


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