Toronto, ON – After a week of competitions at the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), Team BC has won the Overall Team Title. Team BC competed in 13 sports and won a total of 176 medals (65 gold, 57 Silver, 54 bronze) over the course of the competition week. This put the team in first place, 12 medals ahead of Team Saskatchewan. This is the second time BC has won the Overall Team Title at the NAIG, after winning the award at the 2014 NAIG in Regina, Saskatchewan.
“This was a complete team effort,” said Lara Mussell Savage, Team BC’s Chef de Mission. “We assembled an amazing group of athletes, coaches, volunteers and Mission Staff, and from day one they made their presence felt in Toronto. The Indigenous sport delivery system that I·SPARC created has shown tremendous success. But we simply couldn’t have reached new heights at NAIG without the support of our three Partner Agencies, the Provincial Sport Organizations and the significant investment the Provincial Government has made towards Team BC and our ongoing sport development programs.”
Team BC’s success is credited in no small part to the social legacy resulting from the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games. Several prominent provincial Indigenous organizations (including the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres, First Nations Health Council, and Métis Nation BC) came together to develop a new provincial strategy for Indigenous sport, recreation and physical activity. That process led to the creation of the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I·SPARC), the agency that now oversees Team BC. Over the past 10 years, an inclusive regional structure has been established to support the delivery of community-based Indigenous sport development programs.
In preparation for the 2017 NAIG, I·SPARC, in collaboration with a number of Provincial Sport Organizations, established a comprehensive process to select and prepare a contingent of 545 Indigenous athletes and coaches that represented British Columbia at the Toronto 2017 NAIG, including Indigenous Provincial Championships and Athlete Development Camps