Diabo to be honoured with First People’s medal

By Marc Lalonde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter


A Kahnawake gym operator is being feted by the provincial government for creating a fitness atmosphere that has inspired young and old alike to get on the fitness track and by making them feel like a family, a government announcement earlier this week said.

Satekaienton John Diabo, 31, is one of seven winners of the Lieutenant Governor of Quebec’s First Peoples medal which recognizes outstanding contributions by members of First Nations and the Inuit Nation. This recognition highlights the career paths of remarkable individuals who, through their dedication, commitment, and
achievements, contribute to the influence of their community, of their Nation or of First Peoples throughout Quebec, elsewhere in Canada or internationally.

Diabo is the operator and manager of Kahnawake CrossFit, where he has been fostering an inclusive fitness atmosphere that has given hardcore lifters — and those who are a little less hardcore _ a place they can call a “home away from home,” for the last six years Diabo said.

Popular seniors’ and teens’ classes have given those who you wouldn’t normally see in a CrossFit gym a fitness home to call their own, Diabo said. He also said because Kahnawake is such a tight-knit community to begin with, it has engendered a true sense of belonging.

“Oh, definitely. Kahnawake is really tight to begin with, right, but that just makes the group even tighter,” Diabo said. “I think that the way people have responded to the importance of getting moving and keeping moving has created a real sense of community and belonging. The people that come here really have made it their second homes.”

The recipients are recognized as inspiring and transformative individuals who address the social, cultural, and economic challenges of First Peoples, and helping get Kahnawake moving is Diabo’s main focus he was thankful that his years of hard work had paid off.

“It’s really satisfying to be recognized,” Diabo said. “I’m just feeling especially thankful for the fact that I was recognized for something I feel so passionate about.”

The First Peoples Medal is an acknowledgement and honour awarded to recipients for their outstanding contribution to their people; its significance is therefore not political in nature.

Other 2022 recipients of the medals are Therese Thelesh Begin, Mary Coon, Lucie Landry, Violet Pachanos, Pierre Picard, Odette Rioux and Fanny Wylde. The medals will be handed out today in QuebecCity.

Marc Lalonde is a Local Journalism Initiative Reporter with THUNDER BAY SOURCE. The LJI is a federally funded program.

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