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Small community hosts invasion (Saskatchewan Indian Summer Games).

The Whitecap Dakota-Sioux First Nation is a community of about 300 people just 30 km south of Saskatoon. This usually quiet community was invaded by about 2,500 athletes, 300 volunteers and innumerable chaperones, parents, coaches and cheering fans. But it was a welcome and well-planned invasion that saw nine tribal councils, two independent bands and First Nations from the Athabasca region participate in the largest ever Saskatchewan Indian Summer Games. The tribal councils included Agency Chiefs Tribal Council, Battlefords Tribal Council, Prince Albert Grand Council, South East Treaty 4 Tribal Council, Meadow Lake Tribal Council, Yorkton Tribal Council, Touchwood File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council, Fort Carlton Tribal Council, and host Saskatoon Tribal Council. The two independent bands were the Onion Lake First Nation and the Thunder Child First Nation. First Nations from the Athabasca region participated for the first time in the games' history and brought the largest contingent of athletes.

The games ran from July 6 until July 10, and featured track and field events, soccer, and fastball, plus two demonstration sports, archery and boxing. Some of the athletes would be later participating in the North American Indigenous Games in British Columbia.

On what was once pasture land, three ball diamonds, three soccer pitches, one 400 m race track, as well as high jump, long jump and triple jump pits were constructed. The archery range was a series of foam animal targets placed in natural-like settings, and the boxing took place in the recently constructed school gymnasium.

The Meadow Lake Tribal Council won the most points overall with 567, followed by the Yorkton Tribal Council with 523, and the Touchwood File Hills Qu'Appelle Tribal Council came in third with 513. Rounding out the final results were Saskatoon with 484, Prince Albert with 421, Onion Lake with 351, Athabasca with 320, Battlefords with 276, Agency Chiefs with 180, Fort Carlton with 145, and South East Treaty 4 with 35.

Blaine Favel, chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations, couldn't help but be impressed by the large gathering of athletes on one of Saskatchewan's smallest First Nations.

Whitecap Dakota "is large in spirit and large in heart. This is the largest ever Saskatchewan Indian Summer Games," he said during the opening ceremonies.

Henry Dayday, the mayor of Saskatoon, had nothing but praise for the Whitecap community and its chief.

"I want to congratulate you, Chief Darcy [Bear], for the tremendous amount of work you've done," he said. "To the athletes that participate, this is a tremendous opportunity. We are very proud that you have the games here at Whitecap."
COPYRIGHT 1997 Aboriginal Multi-Media Society of Alberta (AMMSA)
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Williams, Kenneth
Publication:Wind Speaker
Date:Aug 1, 1997
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