The 2017 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport were presented to eight outstanding Aboriginal athletes from British Columbia’s Northwest Region during a formal celebration held today at Waap Galts’ap Community House in Terrace, B.C. The Northwest is the second of six regions to honour Aboriginal athletes through this unique province-wide awards program.

“I am so honoured to be involved with the Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport,” said DeWayne Robinson, Northwest Regional Lead for the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council. “These athletes have worked diligently through their young lives, and are now being rewarded for their hard work culturally, educationally, and in their communities.”

The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (I·SPARC), in collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, launched the Regional nomination process in August 2017, receiving 141 nominations from across the province for Aboriginal athletes under 25 years of age who are competing in performance sport and committed to living healthy, active lifestyles.

“The Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport recognize the incredible accomplishments of Aboriginal youth ,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “The success of these young athletes is an indication of their skill, dedication and commitment on the field and in their communities. On behalf of the B.C. government, congratulations to this year’s award winners in B.C.’s Northwest region.”

A total of 48 recipients have been chosen within I·SPARC’s six regions – Northeast, Northwest, Interior, Fraser, Vancouver Coastal and Vancouver Island. Recipients were selected based on their achievements in performance sport, commitment to pursuing a higher education, demonstrable leadership qualities, volunteerism, and connection to culture.

“Congratulations to the award recipients recognized today. You are the mentors, heroes and leaders of the next generation of athletes,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary of Sport and Multiculturalism.

“The Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport are a tremendous opportunity to celebrate the skills and talents of these young athletes in the Northwest region and throughout the province.”

The recipients of the 2017 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport – Northwest Region are:
· Amber Wells, 13, Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Gitxsan
· Colby Stephens, 16, Basketball, Nisga’a
· Amy Levelton Leighton, 16, Swimming, Tsimshian
· Ethan Amos, 15, Swimming, Haisla Nation
· Katherine Scow, 14, Soccer, Track & Field, Basketball, Gitxsan and Namgis Nation
· Grant Hooper, 17, Soccer, Volleyball, Basketball, Métis Nation BC
· Wynona Creyke, 17, Hockey, Tahltan Nation
· Jaidyn McDonald, 14, Track & Field, Tae Kwon Do, Gitxsan

These recipients automatically serve as nominees for the Provincial Awards. A total of 12 Provincial Awards (six male and six female) will be selected in February 2018.  Provincial recipients will receive an invitation to attend a special Aboriginal Youth Sport Leadership Forum, held at the Gathering our Voices Indigenous Youth Leadership Training in Richmond from March 20-23, 2018.

Throughout the month of November, the remaining regions will host formal celebrations to honour their 2017 Premier’s Awards recipients.