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Vancouver Coastal Premier’s Awards Recipients Honoured

November 15, 2017

​8 outstanding Aboriginal athletes receive prestigious award

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Pictured: Argyle students Alexis Mellish (left), 17, Squamish Nation, Rugby and Lacrosse and Kathleen Natrall, 14, Softball and Snowboarding, Squamish Nation

Musqueam, B.C. (November 14th, 2017) – The 2017 Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport were presented to eight outstanding Aboriginal athletes from British Columbia’s Vancouver Coastal Region during a formal celebration held today at the Musqueam Community Center in Vancouver, B.C. Vancouver Coastal is the fourth of six regions to honour Aboriginal athletes through this unique province-wide awards program.

I·SPARC Vancouver Coastal Regional Lead Courtenay Gibson said ”Thank you to the eight athletes we are honouring here this evening, and to their families and the communities that support these amazing young leaders. You are true champions on and off the field, proving that we as Indigenous people are not only surviving, but thriving.

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.

“It’s an honour to recognize these amazing young athletes in the Vancouver Coastal region through the Premier’s Awards for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport,” said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture. “These awards celebrate these athletes’ accomplishments in their sport and also  their commitment to embracing and celebrating their community and culture. Congratulations!”

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 best Aboriginal youth athletes in B.C.’s Vancouver Coastal region,” said Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary of Sport and Multiculturalism.  “They are the mentors, heroes and leaders, who will continue to inspire youth to follow their athletic dreams while embracing their culture. Congratulations!”

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

  • Alexis Mellish, 17, Squamish Nation, Rugby and Lacrosse

  • Gordon George, 18, Canoe, Tsleil-Waututh Nation

  • Ashley Thorne, 13, Soccer, Musqueam Indian Band

  • Jaiden Terry, 14, Lacrosse and Hockey, St’at’imc and Nisga’a

  • Kathleen Natrall, 14, Softball and Snowboarding, Squamish Nation

  • Quinn Sam-Finlay, 17, Basketball and Soccer, Lil’Wat Nation

  • Malia Terry, 18, Lacrosse, St’at’imc and Nisga’a

  • Sekawnee Baker, 18, Lacrosse, Squamish Nation

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.

Throughout the month of November, the remaining regions will host formal celebrations to honour their 2017 Premier’s Awards recipients.

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