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

Election 2018: Tod, Perrault declare candidacies for Langley school board

Incumbent and DPAC president issue separate announcements

VIDEO: Fire at Driediger Farms in Langley

Building used for fresh blueberry storage burns

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

VIDEO: Fraser Valley Fusion wins it the hard way

Langley-based team earns gold at the Triple Crown Sports Valley Invite in Oregon

Man shot dead in Cloverdale ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

VIDEO: Canadian toddler caught practising hockey skills in crib

Eli Graveline is getting praise from far and wide as the internet freaks out of cute throwback video

Man facing charges after baby food stolen from Richmond doorstep

A 40-year-old man is facing several charges

10 of TransLink’s most used SkyTrain routes

TransLink released its 2017 Transit Network Performance Review, offering snapshot of ridership

Serial speeder clocked going 138 km/hr in 90 zone

Driver had their vehicle impounded

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

1 man in critical condition after ‘serious’ stabbing in Downtown Eastside: police

Vancouver police say there was an altercation and stabbing appears targeted

Most Read