Joshua Saddleback believes in dreams. As a 10-year old walking MANS’ halls, like most boys on the Maskwacis reserve, the son of now Chief Vernon Saddleback, Samson Cree Nation, dreamed of competing as a high level athlete. MANS had no athletic field or program. But Joshua had dreams: dreams of graduating from MANS (then terminating at Grade 9); dreams of excelling in high school and at athletics, and going on to university.
When Joshua walked into MANS in January 2021 with his six-year old daughter Kiya after he graduated from university, he was realizing another dream: enrolling Kiya in the same caring academic environment he experienced— a place where he knew Kiya would be valued, protected and challenged.
Now with two young daughters and a partner, Dakotah, who’s his match as an athlete, Joshua sees athletics as a way of life and a positive lifestyle choice. It’s a way to help his kids and others on the Res to keep dreaming.
Kiya’s already dreaming. Dinner talk about the Indigenous slow pitch team her parents play in year round fuels her imagination; Joshua, Dakotah and Extreme Kaos have returned from the Native World Series, held in the US, as champions of the last four out of five Series. Then there’s Warhorse — a new competitive league team composed of Kiya’s extended family—that's in the discussion stage. She’s got a good throwing arm. Her mom, Dakotah, started playing on a boy’s fastball team at the age of eight; maybe Kiya will someday pitch a World Cup game for Warhorse.
Kiya’s future; Warhorse; a whole generation of MANS kids loving outdoor activity and team discipline—it’s just a dream right now. But standing on the uneven field where Joshua once tossed a football, the family sees a place to introduce kids to the highly accessible and inclusive sport of softball and other outdoor activities.
A field where MANS can help kids build skills, character, and a healthy, brighter future.
A field of foundational, attainable dreams.