July 29,2014(ISN) – REGINA, SK – Team BC has made history at the Regina 2014 North American Indigenous Games (2014 NAIG). They are the first team in the history of the Games to win both the Overall Team Title and the John Fletcher Spirit Award. The John Fletcher Spirit Award is presented to the contingent that best demonstrates the spirit of teamwork, fair play, respect and integrity throughout the NAIG competition week.
Team BC competed in 13 sports and won a total of 160 medals (63 gold, 49 Silver, 48 bronze) over the course of the competition week. This put the team in first place, just one medal ahead of Team Saskatchewan – the Host province. This is the first time BC has won the Overall Team Title at the NAIG.
“It was a real nail-biter,” said Lara Mussell, Team BC’s Chef de Mission. “We exchanged the lead with Team Saskatchewan several times throughout the Games and it came down to the last few events of the final day. What makes this win even more special was also being awarded the John Fletcher Spirit Award. The team’s performance, perseverance and conduct, both on and off the field, exemplified the ideals of the North American Indigenous Games: The Spirit—Strong, Brave, True.”
Team BC’s success is credited in no small part to the social legacy resulting from the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games. Several prominent provincial Aboriginal organizations (including the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, First Nations Health Council, and Métis Nation BC) came together to develop a new provincial strategy for Aboriginal sport, recreation and physical activity. That process led to the creation of the Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Partners Council (Partners Council), the agency that now oversees Team BC. Over the past six years, an inclusive regional structure has been established to support the delivery of community-based Aboriginal sport development programs.
“This was a complete team effort,” said Rick Brant, Director of the Partners Council. “We assembled an amazing group of athletes, coaches, volunteers and Mission Staff, and from day one they made their presence felt in Regina. The Aboriginal sport delivery system that we have created has shown tremendous success. But we simply couldn’t have reached new heights at the NAIG without the support of our three Partner Agencies, the Provincial Sport Organizations and the significant investment the Provincial Government has made towards Team BC and our ongoing sport development programs.”
In preparation for the 2014 NAIG, the Partners Council, in collaboration with a number of Provincial Sport Organizations, established a comprehensive process to select and prepare a contingent of 500 Aboriginal athletes and coaches that represented British Columbia at the Regina 2014 NAIG, including Aboriginal Provincial Championships and Athlete Development Camps.
About Team BC
The Partners Council is responsible for managing the Team BC Program for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG). Through the support and oversight of its Team BC Work Group and Provincial Sport Committees, the Partners Council has established a coordinated Team BC program that included the development of a comprehensive process to select a dedicated team of 500 Aboriginal athletes, coaches, managers, chaperones and mission staff that represented British Columbia at the 2014 NAIG.
About the North American Indigenous Games
The North American Indigenous Games is an international multi-sport event, involving North American Indigenous athletes from 13 provinces and territories Canada and 13 regions in the United States, staged intermittently since 1990. The 2014 NAIG took place in the City of Regina on July 20-27, 2014, and brought together 4,800 Indigenous athletes and coaches and 200 cultural performers.
About the Aboriginal Sport, Recreation & Physical Activity Partners Council
The Partners Council is a consortium of the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, the First Nations Health Authority, and the Métis Nation BC. As the stewards of BC’s Aboriginal Sport, Recreation and Physical Activity Strategy, the Partners Council works with First Nations, Aboriginal communities and other sport and physical activity stakeholders to deliver community-based programs designed to promote active lifestyles and support the desire for transformative change in the health and well-being of Aboriginal communities, families and individuals across BC.