Date of Birth: December 1, 1946
Place of Birth: Six Nations
Gaylord Powless was a Mohawk lacrosse player from the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nations Reserve near Brantford, Ontario, where the Powless family has lived for over 200 years. Gaylord received his first lacrosse stick at age two and by age 17, he won the Tom Longboat Award as the best Indigenous athlete in Canada playing the “Creator’s Game”, and carrying on an important family and cultural tradition. In 1964, Gaylord was recruited by the Oshawa Green Gaels junior lacrosse team, which he led to four consecutive Minto Cups from 1964 to 1967 and was chosen as the most valuable player in the series in 1964 and 1967. He turned professional in 1968 and went on to a successful career in professional and senior amateur lacrosse with teams in Detroit, Syracuse, New York, Montreal, Brantford, Port Coquitlam, Brampton and Six Nations. He knew where everyone was at all times on the field of play, was an unselfish player, and an outstanding playmaker. Gaylord's career was cut short by injuries and in 1977, he retired at the age of 30. As an Indigenous person, Gaylord had to withstand tremendous racism from coaches, players, fans, and sports writers. His reaction was to recognize that he was a target for bullying and abuse and to overcome it by being the best player, and the highest scoring athlete he could be. Sadly, Gaylord died on July 28, 2001, but his influence as a role model and inspiration to generations of Indigenous youth carries on.
For more information on Dr. George Beers, visit his Honoured Member profile.