Tewanee Joseph was born in North Vancouver with a unique ancestry – half Squamish Nation and half Maori from New Zealand.
Growing up on a Squamish reserve, Tewanee used his love of sports and natural athleticism to survive the rough-and-tumble challenges of reserve life. By playing lacrosse, soccer and basketball, he earned the respect of many. As a teenager, Tewanee became captain of the North Shore Indians Lacrosse Club of the West Coast Senior Lacrosse League.
He won four national championships in box and field lacrosse and had the opportunity to represent Canada on a Junior National team in 1989 and the Iroquois Nations at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria.
The North Shore Indians have a storied history in lacrosse. Tewanee had relatives on the 1936 team that made it all the way to the Mann Cup national championship final, and he followed in those same footsteps when he was growing up.
“I love lacrosse. Every Friday night I’d go out to the games and watch the North Shore Indians. That was what we did, me and my friends, and that was what we dreamed of being: North Shore Indians,” Tewanee said. “My late grand-uncle, Stan Joseph Sr., he’s in the Lacrosse Hall of Fame. He used to go run laps and we’d be in there as kids playing in the box, we’d gear up with what little gear we had and play lacrosse for all hours of the day. I spent a lot of time in that box.” The dream eventually came true for Tewanee, as he suited up for the North Shore Indians and helped the team win two Presidents’ Cup championships— the Canadian Lacrosse Association’s senior B national championship.
In addition to his lacrosse specific work, Tewanee is on the board of the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. He was instrumental in the drive (including funding projects) and getting history and suggestions for the Hall’s award-winning Indigenous Sport Gallery. He was also a key part of the work with the 2010 Olympics and the Four Host Nations involvement in the Games.