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

Songhees Nation 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

Opposing views clash over removal of Royal Oak Golf Course from ALR

Golf course not ideal for farming, says report

West Shore RCMP searching for missing Langford man

Evan Gordon was last seen at his home in the 2700 block of Peatt Road

Oak Bay man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Susan Simmons begins a 24-hour swim from Victoria to Port Angeles and back

The MS Athlete and ultra-marathon swimmer wants to be the first person to make the journey

A taste of Greece comes to Victoria

Greek Fest runs Aug. 24 to 26 and Aug. 31 to Sept. 3 at the Greek Community Centre

Five things to do in Greater Victoria this weekend

Puppy yoga, horses, cars, water guns and more make up this weekend’s list of events to see

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights can be misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Vancouver Whitecaps give up late goal in 2-2 draw with New York Red Bulls

Four of Vancouver’s next five games are at home

RCMP looking for missing Duncan teen

Dallas Macleod, 18, was last seen on Aug. 10

Most Read