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The Tom Longboat Awards were established in 1951 to recognize Aboriginal athletes "for their outstanding contributions to sport in Canada" and continues "to honour Indigenous athletes across Canada" annually. As a program of the Aboriginal Sport Circle, the awards provide a forum for acknowledging top male and female athletes both at the regional and national levels.
The Aboriginal Sport Circle offers each provincial and territorial Aboriginal sport body (P/T/TASB) the opportunity to select one male and one female Aboriginal athlete within their region. The regional recipients will be considered as nominees for the national award that is presented to the top male and female athletes at the annual induction ceremony hosted by Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.
Each of the regional Tom Longboat Award recipients receives a Tom Longboat Award medallion. The two national Tom Longboat Award winners receive Tom Longboat Award rings, and have their names added to the Tom Longboat Award Trophy, which is displayed in Canada's Sports Hall of Fame.