The 2017 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport were presented to eight outstanding Aboriginal athletes from British Columbia’s Fraser Region during a formal celebration held today at the Charlie Longhouse in Sts’ailes, B.C. The Fraser is the third of six regions to honour Aboriginal athletes through this unique province-wide awards program.

I·SPARC Fraser Regional Lead Cheryl Charlie said ” I am really happy that we have the support of the BC Government to recognize our elite athletes, and that our athletes are not only talented in sport, but that they are also strong leaders and have set really high academic goals. We are proud of all of the applicants as well as the recipients, and wish them all the best on their sporting journeys.”

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.

“Congratulations to the Fraser regional recipients of the 2017 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “These awards celebrate the achievements of young Aboriginal athletes on the field and in their communities. On behalf of the BC government, it is an honour to recognize your accomplishments.”

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.

“Today’s recipients are the mentors, heroes and leaders of the next generation of Aboriginal athletes for the Fraser region,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary of Sport and Multiculturalism.  “It is through their hard work, dedication and commitment that these young athletes will continue to inspire youth throughout our province to follow their dreams. Congratulations!”

The recipients of the 2017 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport – Fraser Region are:

· Hunter Lang, 16, Softball, Ts’kw’aylaxw First Nation
· Connor Adair, 23, Australian Rules Football, Métis Nation BC
· Jade Victor, 18, Soccer, Skowkale and Cheam
· Corben Bowen, 18, Rugby, Haisla Nation
· Tahlaela Marks, 16, Soccer, Sechelt and Sts’ailes
· Dylan Hugh, 19, Soccer, Sto:lo and Cree
· Tristina Howse, 18, Wrestling, Buffalo Lake Métis
· Zach Spicer, 17, Sailing, Mikisew Cree
These recipients automatically serve as nominees for the Provincial Awards. A total of 12 Provincial Recipients (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.