The Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I·SPARC) is pleased to announce the six outstanding athletes named as the Vancouver Island regional recipients of the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport.

  • Jakob Brager, 18, Swimming, Nanaimo, Mid-Island Métis
  • Ellashani George, 16, War Canoe and Soccer, Duncan, Oneida Nation of the Thames
  • Megan McCool, 17, Smallbore Rifle, Victoria, Métis Nation BC
  • Tristan Thomas, 15, Soccer, Nanaimo, Snuneymuxw First Nation
  • Willem Whitehead, 15, Lacrosse, Hockey, Big Canoe and Basketball, Qualicum, We Wai Kai Nation
  • Kristine Williams, 19, Volleyball and Basketball, Duncan, Cowichan Tribes

I·SPARC, in collaboration with the Province of British Columbia, launched the regional nomination process in late 2020, receiving nominations from each of I·SPARC’s six regions (Fraser, Interior, Northeast, Northwest, Vancouver Coastal, and Vancouver Island) for Indigenous athletes, under 25 years of age, who are competing in performance sport, and demonstrating a commitment to their education, culture, and promoting healthy and active lifestyles.

“Congratulations to all the regional winners of the Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “I’m so proud of your accomplishments both on the field and in your community. Your outstanding achievements are a source of pride, especially for your family, coaches, and everyone who has supported and encouraged you along the way. This, to me, is reconciliation in action. More than ever in these challenging times, we need young people like you to give us hope. Keep following your dreams and reaching for the stars.”

Due to the pandemic restrictions, the Regional Awards celebrations could not be held this year. As a way of honouring this year’s recipients, I·SPARC has produced a series of commemorative videos highlighting each of the region’s athletes and celebrating their outstanding achievements. These videos will be unveiled on I·SPARC’s YouTube channel (click here to share the YouTube video) and social media channels.

I am confident that this is only one victory in many to come for all of you. As you celebrate this award and recognition, I want you to know that I, and your community, are proud of your hard work and commitment to healthy living. May this acknowledgement push you to continue to pursue your goals both on and off the field of play. Congratulations on your success,” said Wally Samuel Sr., Vancouver Island I·SPARC regional lead.

Over the next week, I·SPARC will be announcing the 30 regional recipients of the Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport, by region. These regional recipients automatically serve as nominees for the Provincial Awards, which will be announced later this spring.