Whether it’s cooking, writing, firefighting or Coaching, Cindy Martin never misses the mark

  • March 22, 2023

CAO’s Empowering Stories from Behind the Bench – March 2023

“As a coach, I evaluate the priorities of each individual and keep an open mind.”

By David Grossman

For some, the essence of satisfaction just might be a plate of poutine, that authentic Canadian dish of fries and cheese curds topped off with a brown gravy.

It may be advisable not to spend time talking about this kind of treat, when you’re in conversation with Cindy Martin, whose career involves working for a dietician.

Educated in culinary management, Martin is focussed on the importance of eating healthy.

It’s something that likely goes back to her youthful days, benefitting from family members – like her grandmother, who was a great cook of venison, duck and rabbit with various vegetables and amazing desserts.

Martin spends her time coaching people to fulfil acts of wellness to oneself for self worth and self care.

Teaching about the culture of a hearty and robust cuisine isn’t the only apprentice that Martin excels in. This amazing woman gets top marks in another type of coaching – something she has devoted countless hours to over the past 14 years.

This one involves the skill of using a bow to shoot arrows in arguably one of the most challenging competitive and recreational activities. It’s called archery, a sport that goes beyond Robin Hood and medieval history to receiving world-wide attention in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Born in Hamilton, Martin lives in Ohsweken, which is home to the Six Nations of the Grand River – the only reservein North America where all six Haudenosaunee nations live together. Her traditional Indigenous name in the Cayuga language is Eahwahewi, which means carrier of the news.

For nine years, she was also a volunteer firefighter with the Six Nations Fire Department.

Talking with her, leaves one understanding the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle.

When the focus turns from nourishments to athletics, the influence of having sound coaching reverberates around a clear understanding of sports dynamics. For Martin, having a great coach is a huge bonus for a youngster eager to learn.

“My first coaching experience was at age 22 and it was instructing kids, at the grassroots level, about canoeing and archery,” said Martin, who is very influential to youngsters and portrays skills that are effective and energetic. “I even coached my three kids to help them get a better understanding of their own interests and identify whether they like team or individual sports.”

Archery means a great deal more than aiming arrows towards a target.

“It’s an art that brings mind, body and breath together,” said Martin, who benefitted from the Aboriginal Apprentice Coach Program (AACP) that allowed coaches of Aboriginal ancestry to the Canada Games in apprenticeship roles.

 “As a coach, I evaluate the priorities of each individual and keep an open mind. What is important is that I also don’t allow my ego to get in the way. Working with kids, I tell them to think about what’s important to them.”

She continues to emphasize that archery is a serious skill, that demands respect, attention, and presence. She also is quite clear that an arrow can never be taken back once it is released.

An instructor with Six Nations Archery, Martin is responsible for organizing various tournaments. In August of 2023, she’ll be competing at the World Indigenous Masters Games taking place in Ottawa.

Martin has a close connection to a pair of famous people – Tom Longboat and Pauline Johnson. She is the great-great-great niece of Longboat, the noted distance runner who was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, the Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, and the Indian Hall of Fame. Her cousin was Johnson, a Canadian author, poet, and champion of Indigenous Rights.

She has also been involved with the Tom Longboat segment in the Indigenous Sports Heroes Education component at the Sports Hall of Fame.

Coveted in the knowledge of health promotion and the benefits of physical activity, Martin has been a lightning bolt of encouragement in diabetes education, healthy lifestyles, and traditional wellness programs, to those she has worked with over almost 30 years with the Six Nations Council.

“Working in my community has been very rewarding,” said Martin. “It’s rewarding to support, encourage and empower my community members to be active, healthy and vibrant.”

As if Martin doesn’t have enough to challenge her time, she’s a creative individual and is also an author of a children’s book called “The Protector of Peach: A Haudenosaunee Story” – a beautifully illustrated history lesson about how the eagle becomes the protector of turtle island.

“As a mother, I enjoy telling my children stories about our family, our culture and history,” added Martin, who said it became clear that the experience triggered her desire to write a book for her children.

Martin has been coaching archery at the grassroots level, focussing on boys and girls 10 years and older. It was in 2008 that Martin coached her daughter at the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Cowichan, British Columbia. It’s located on Vancouver Island, north-east of Victoria.

This time, her coaching skills, training, and discipline, branched out to basketball.

“We had a tough time fielding a (girls) team and I offered to coach because no one else was available,” recalled Martin. “For me, coaching is character building. I’m open-minded and look for ways to help (young people) practice their skills. It’s all about motivation and a desire to learn. I am there to guide them and correct technique.”

The Coaches Association of Ontario series, “Empowering Stories from behind the Bench”, continues to put the spotlight on individuals – like Martin – who educate the use of strong coaching fundamentals of improvement, guidance, and training.


“It’s rewarding to support, encourage and empower my community members to be active, healthy and vibrant.”

David Grossman is a veteran multi award-winning Journalist and Broadcaster with some of Canada’s major media, including the Toronto Star and SPORTSNET 590 THE FAN, and a Public Relations professional for 45+ years in Canadian sports and Government relations.