Coach Alex Nelson, flanked by dancer/athlete Gary Sam, speaks about the importance of athleticism, identity and teamwork for youth competing in the North American Indigenous Games. Kristyn Anthony/VICTORIA NEWS

Island First Nations officially bids to host 2020 North American Indigenous Games

Greater Victoria last welcomed athletes to compete on traditional lands in 1997

In a presentation of song, dance and sport, the Songhees Nation announced Monday that an official bid will be made to host the 2020 North American Indigenous Games in Greater Victoria.

Songhees Chief Ron Sam said bringing the Games to the home of the Lekwungen speaking peoples is a chance to showcase athleticism and culture, but also provides an economic boom to the area.

“These are transformational experiences for everyone,” he said. “Particularly for our youth, for whom we must all work to ensure that they have a future filled with pride, optimism, opportunity, health and prosperity.”

Victoria last played host to the Games in 1997, inviting athletes in the thousands to “experience what it is like to be celebrated for our distinctive culture and athleticism,” Sam said.

Athletes aged 14 to 19 compete in 3-D archery, badminton, baseball, basketball, box lacrosse, golf, soccer, softball, swimming, rifle-shooting, volleyball and wrestling, as well canoe and kayaking, in the name of respect and friendship.

In 2017, the Songhees Nation sent seven athletes to the Indigenous Games in Toronto, bringing home three gold medals, and one bronze, as part of Team B.C.

RELATED: Victoria considers 2020 North American Indigenous Games bid

Michael Maresca, a lacrosse participant in the 2014 and 2017 Games, described it as “a dream come true” to compete in the Iroquois arena on the land where the sport was first given to the people of the Ha`degaenage.

“Traditionally, lacrosse is known as the ‘medicine game’ for its ability to heal and bring joy and happiness to both those who play and watch the game and I believe that to be true,” Maresca said.

Ottawa, Halifax and Winnipeg are also vying for the 2020 Games, which are projected to cost more than $7 million and are expected to generate at least twice as much in revenues.

The decision is expected to be announced later this year.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com

Just Posted

Vopak expects 240 liquid gas-by-rail cars per day

North Coast residents can learn more about the Ridley Island-based project at the open houses

Bantam Kermodes defeat Seawolves in pre-season action

The Terrace bantam rep Kermodes won an exhibition game against Prince Rupert… Continue reading

CMTN unveils renovated House of Cedar

$18.4M upgrade and renovation cited as key to modern trades training

More than 35 B.C. mayors elected without contest

No other candidates for mayor in the upcoming local election in Prince Prince, Terrace, etc.

Mobile complaint team coming to B.C.’s northwest

Ombudsperson’s office wants to hear from wronged residents

Live bear cam: Let the fishing begin

Watch bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park catch their dinner live.

Campaign seeks to add Farsi to B.C. school curriculum options

Group wants Farsi added to list of nine languages in policy covering second language requirements

Trudeau urges leaders to follow Nelson Mandela’s example at UN tribute

Peace summit in New York marks 100th birthday of former South African president

Senate seats filled in B.C., Saskatchewan

Canada’s newest senators are the first woman to lead the RCMP and a Cree Metis businessman

Newfoundland’s popular ‘merb’ys’ calendar is back

The calendar of burly, bearded mermen posing against scenic backdrops for charity returns

Cap rent increases at inflation rate, B.C. task force recommends

MLAs say drop annual increase that would allow 4.5% rise next year

School, church, old mining site make Heritage BC’s first ‘watch list’

The list includes sites in need of protection to maintain B.C.’s culture and history

Yowza! Twerk, emoji and facepalm are added to Scrabble dictionary, OK?

Merriam-Webster has announced 300 new words have been added to the spelling game

LGBTQ activists, allies in Victoria counter anti-SOGI protest with rally of their own

Lower Mainland activists plan to protest SOGI on legislature lawn, Sept. 29

Most Read