Danika Dureau is a rising lacrosse player from Ahtahkakoop First Nations and is set to attend the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in July 15-23 in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), helping Team Saskatchewan reach for their goals.
Sport has always been a major presence in Dureau’s household. Her family has a shared love for hockey, which included her older brother playing the sport and herself as a multi-sport athlete, participating in both hockey and football. “No matter what was going on in my life, whether I was going through highs or lows, sport was always my escape and felt like I was at home, a place where I can identify myself.”
Around the age of ten, Dureau was introduced to lacrosse through a Facebook advertisement her mom had found for a youth lacrosse team in Regina. While her older brother hadn’t shown an interest in playing lacrosse, Dureau’s mom wanted to offer her the same opportunity and believed Dureau would enjoy the challenge of learning a different sport. Following her mother’s suggestion to play lacrosse, Dureau received a second recommendation to explore the sport from a fellow young athlete.
“It was mid hockey season when the girl’s lacrosse team was made in Regina and a girl I knew suggested I tryout. From there, the intensity of the game [caught my attention and was something] that transferred from my time in hockey.”
Since then, Dureau has flourished in the game. In 2021, she won Female Athlete of the Year Award from Queen City Minor Box Lacrosse, a major accomplishment since she had only been playing lacrosse for two years at the time. The following year, Dureau played for Team Saskatchewan at the 2022 Canada Summer Games in Niagara.
With those highlights under her belt, Dureau continues pushing herself further in lacrosse, setting short and long-term goals for her multi-sport future.
That’s where NAIG comes in.
Dureau views her participation in this year’s event —which she hopes will be the first of many appearances at NAIG — as another exciting step along her sport journey. It’s also a chance to “combine as one” with her teammates and build a family environment as they compete for gold.
“NAIG is a great opportunity to embrace my culture and play a high level of lacrosse while representing Team Saskatchewan.”