WINNIPEG—The efforts of parents, community members and the athletes themselves came to fruition with an impressive medal haul by Manitoulin athletes at the 2014 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Regina last week.
The games ran from July 20 to 26 and were hosted by a committee comprised of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, the City of Regina, the Province of Saskatchewan, the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan, the University of Regina along with several cultural and community delegates.
The games run every fourth year and offer young aboriginal athletes aged 13 to 19 the opportunity to shine in 15 different sports. The vision for the NAIG is “to promote a healthy and positive lifestyle within the indigenous communities all across North America.” Promote it does, as 6,000 athletes and coaches travelled from across Canada and the United States to take part. Over 3,000 community volunteers offer up their services to help make the games a success. In addition to the feats of athletic prowess, this year’s NAIG featured a cultural component that included performances by Crystal Shawanda, Inez, Plex and the Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company as well as a headline performance by George Leach. In all there were over 200 cultural and entertainment performers. The Ontario contingent of artists was almost entirely comprised of Manitoulin representatives.
Local athletes were supported by a cadre of parents and community members who fundraised for the event and who followed the athletes out to the games.
Among the champions who all did so very well at the games, a number of local athletes brought home some serious metal from the 2014 NAIG.
Tristan McGregor of Whitefish River First Nation finished with a gold medal in the under 16 male discus and a bronze medal in the under 16 shot put, finishing seventh in under 16 male javelin. As part of Team Ontario Tristan also won a gold medal in the 4 x 400 metre under 16 relay.
Naakwaam Shawanda (13) and Tyson Thomas Daniel Wemigwans of Wikwemikong won gold in the under 14 male MC2 1,000 metre canoe/kayak competition.
Zack Pregent of Birch Island won bronze in the 400 metre run under 19 and came in sixth in the 200 metre run.
Hunter Elizabeth Johns of Wikwemikong won gold in basketball as part of Team Ontario.
Sheila Claudette Theresa Eshquib of M’Chigeeng and Alara Owl of the Whitefish River First Nation won gold with Team Ontario in the under 16 soccer event.
Cassandra M. Bisson of M’Chigeeng won silver with Team Ontario in the female under 14 division.
Wynona Sarah Visitor of the Whitefish River First nation won bronze in under 16 basketball with Team Ontario.
Bo Peltier of Wikwemikong won bronze with Team Ontario in Lacrosse Box under 19.
Chase Assiniwe and Tanner Kinoshameg of Wikwemikong and Montana McGregor and Theron Alec McGregor of the Whitefish River First Nation won bronze in soccer with Team Ontario in the under 16 division.
Danielle Jone-Migwans of M’Chigeeng won bronze in softball with Team Ontario in the under 19 division.
Nicholas McGregor and Colten Pheasant of Wikwemikong won bronze in softball with Team Ontario in the under 19 division.