Dignitaries gathered in Regina today. Photo by Manfred Joehnck.
Thousands of First Nations youth from all over the province will descend on Regina next summer to take part in the First Nations Summer games.
"Empowering excellence in First Nations youth through sports and culture" is the theme of the games. File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council is hosting the event, which will run from August 6th until August 11th next summer.
Tribal Council Vice Chief and Games Chair, Elaine Chicoose, says while the young athletes will compete in eight different sports, the games are just as important for bringing youth together and giving them a sense of pride and identity.
She says the recent suicides of young teens in the north demonstrate the need to belong and be proud.
"Something like this is about culture, bringing back the culture and the recreation," she said. "Having something for our youth to be proud of themselves and excel in sports, I think that is very important to help them in every way possible."
Regina Mayor, Michael Fougere, says the games are good news for Regina, from both a community and financial perspective.
"It’s millions of dollars that will be injected into the economy for hotels and food, but beyond that, it is really about talking about who we are as a people, as a city, and to showcase who we are, that’s quite important." he said.
About five thousand athletes, coaches, chaperones and officials will be coming from all across the province to attend the games.
Indigenous youth between the ages of 13 and 18 will compete in several sports, including archery, athletics, beach volleyball, canoeing, golf, lacrosse, soccer and football.
More volunteers and sponsors are still needed.
The File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council represents 11 First Nations in Treaty 4 territory.