Photo: Hockey captain Taylor Tom skates on outdoor rink

Canadian hockey standout and Native American Club co-founder Taylor Tom ’22

NORWICH RECORD | Spring 2022

Ojibwe nursing major Taylor Tom ’22 grew up in Kenora, Ontario, and is a member of the Mawka (Bear) Clan. Her Anishinaabe spirt name is Paishobinnayshiik, which translates as “A Lone Lightning Bolt.” “My name comes from the Thunderbird,” she says.

It is a name that captures Tom’s personality. A women’s hockey team co-captain and co-founder of the Native American Club at NU, Tom has been an electrifying presence on and off the ice during her four years on campus. Ask the senior what Norwich has taught her and she can sum it in a word: sacrifice. “You sit beside classmates, who have already served [in] the U.S. military or even some foreign exchange students who came from Korea and whatnot, and learn about their sacrifices that they made for their country,” she says.

Sacrifice is something Tom knows personally. She was raised by her single mother, who often worked three to four jobs (grocery store cashier, hospital clean¬er, etc.) to make ends meet and support her daughter’s education and budding hockey career. “There were so many sacrifices for me to go on this journey in terms of hockey and my education.”

After graduation, Tom plans to return home to Kenora, where she hopes to work as a nurse to help address the health disparities experienced by Native communities. It’s been eight years since she left home at the age of 14 to attend boarding school in Manitoba followed by a year of women’s junior league hockey in Boston, before attending Norwich. “I’m looking forward to getting back into the powwow circle again.”

—Sean Markey

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