Chief Ron Sam (second from left) of the Songhees Nation, says recognizing youth accomplishment in sport by the provincial government is significant. Gavin Sam, Josh Sam and Nathan Sam, also of the Songhees Nation, placed fifth in lacrosse for Team B.C. in the North American Indigenous Games this summer. (Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS)

Songhees youth among those recognized by province for achievement in sport

Team BC athletes in North American Indigenous Games, Canada Summer Games recognized

Young Team B.C. athletes were honoured Tuesday afternoon at a presentation hosted by the provincial government.

Delta North MLA Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism and a two-time Olympian in field hockey for Canada, emceed the ceremony at the Empress Hotel and offered congratulations to the young athletes. Youth who participated in 2017 Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg and the 2017 North American Indigenous Games in Toronto were recognized.

Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training also offered words of encouragement, especially to the young Indigenous athletes.

“I’m so proud of you,” she said. “Keep fighting. Keep practising. Keep shooting for the stars and as Nations, keep paddling together.”

Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam thanked the province for recognizing the youth athletes, seven of whom are from Songhees – they were part of gold-medal winning teams in soccer, and bronze medal and fifth-place teams in lacrosse.

Although it has been months since both Games concluded, Sam said the official recognition was significant.

“I think its important to acknowledge athletes. To have both the Summer Games team, which a lot of Indigenous people aren’t well represented in yet, and the Indigenous Team B.C. where it’s all Indigenous athletes, come together and stand together and be acknowledged by the government [is meaningful],” Sam said.

“I think its a huge gesture to our young people who are striving for excellence in sport.”

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