A new fitness centre focusing on physical and mental health celebrated its grand opening on Siksika Nation on Saturday.
The facility, dubbed Many Guns Boxing and Fitness, is named in honour of the late boxer Clifford Many Guns, who died in 2017.
Many Guns’ daughter, Jeanette, said the opening of the gym was an important moment.
“Let’s carry on the legacy of all these champions that have been forgotten — they are coming back to life again,” she said.
“It’s a great legacy for my father, Clifford Many Guns, and I am so proud of him.”
Jeanette said her father began his professional career in boxing in 1961. He had five professional bouts, winning three and losing two of those matches.
The centre will include flexible gym equipment like ladders and punching bags that are manoeuvrable to allow space for activities such as yoga and kickboxing.
To start with, the centre will offer staff classes and private bookings while public registration will start this fall for activities like boxing, yoga and Muay Thai.
Manny Yellowfly with Siksika Mental Health said having the fitness centre will give elders, youth and the community access to these activities nearby, instead of driving to Strathmore or Calgary.
“It’s exciting, and actually something to look forward to. Because on the nation, we don’t really have our own fitness centre,” Yellowfly said.
Muay Thai instructor Kendrick Threesuns said his practice has helped him in life, and he hopes it can do the same for his students.
“As First Nations people we struggle with a lot of different addictions, personal issues, intergenerational trauma,” he said. “We want to bring forward that sense of balance and vitality so they can overcome anything.”
Jeanette said if her father were still here today, he would be “so proud” to see Saturday’s grand opening.
“I think he’d be very emotional,” Jeanette said. “My dad was so proud of our culture, his history, his family tree — all the great warriors that he came from.
“I think my dad, today … it would be a knockout, today.”