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Wab Kinew, 32

Director of indigenous inclusion at the University of Winnipeg, journalist with Al Jazeera America, vocalist, artist, motivational speaker, dad to sons aged 6 and 8.


Accomplishments: Kinew is a role model and a professional who crosses cultural barriers with grace and eloquence. He has a bachelor of arts degree in economics and is a member of the Midewin (traditional Anishinaabe medicine). In his journalism career, he has won an Adrienne Clarkson RTNDA Award and a Gabriel Award. He hosted the highly acclaimed CBC television documentary series 8th Fire in 2012, which examined Canada's relationship with its First Nations communities. Kinew, whose father, Tobasonakwut, was subjected to the horrors of St. Mary's Residential School, played a lead role in having people who went to residential schools known as "survivors." Kinew is currently working on a documentary for Al Jazeera on the school-to-prison pipeline involving youth in Texas in which the criminal justice system, not school administrators, deal with discipline issues with students as young as six years old.

His music won a 2009 Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award for best rap/hip-hop CD for Live By The Drum. Training in mixed martial arts in recent years, Kinew also rapped the entrance music for fighter Chris Stranger at CFC 6 in Winnipeg.

"In jiu-jitsu, because you are live-sparring with your peers or better every day, it does create a laid-back atmosphere and it encourages humility because you're always being reminded that there's somebody stronger than you or better than you. You're constantly getting a reality check so it prevents you from getting a big head or big ego," Kinew said.

"At CFC I enjoy training with all the black belts there like Jerin Valel and Joe Doerksen. They're very technical and knowledgable and, in addition to kicking my butt, they also give me lots to think about."


1. Favourite workout?

I like running, lifting weights and kick-boxing but my favourite is training Brazilian jiu-jitsu. It is an intense, full-body workout but it also has a social side, since you make a lot of good friends among your training partners. It has a strong mental side in understanding the mechanics and strategy of the game and can be quite meditative when you get into your groove and have some good rolls.


2. Favourite workout song?

Electric Pow-Wow Drum by A Tribe Called Red


3. Fitness tip?

"At least once in your life, train with the intention that you're going to die" -- MMA fighter Enson Inoue (Japanese heavyweight mixed martial artist and Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt)


4. What's in your fridge?

Eggs, milk, coconut oil, fruits, veggies, steak, bacon, wild rice. I'm also huge on coffee. Fancy, high-quality, hipster-approved coffee like Matchstick.


5. What's your guilty pleasure?

My guilty pleasure are kids' cereals like Lucky Charms. I also like an A&W Teen Burger now and then.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 1, 2014 D15

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