British Columbia’s Aboriginal leaders gathered today to celebrate the important milestone of Host First Nation official partnership with the
2015 Canada Winter Games
Feb 11, 2015, Lheidli T’enneh Territory – Prince George, BC – On the threshold of the 25 Canada Winter Games, surrounding Nations are gathering today in Prince George, the traditional territory of Lheidli T’enneh, to celebrate a milestone in the history of Games that will recognize a First Nation as an official host.
“This is an important day – an important time – for many reasons,” says Grand Chief Edward John, First Nations Summit of BC. “Canada Winter Games are more than a competition for athletes, the sports event brings together youth, communities and partnerships and creates an opportunity to share about the land, language and diverse cultures – in this case, that of the Lheidli T’enneh. The result is a strong unified presence as they move forward. First Nations have been recognized at previous competitions including the 1994 Commonwealth Games and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but this is a particularly special day for celebration with the Canada Winter Games honouring First Nations for the first time as an Official Host Partner.”
The 2015 Canada Winter Games, which opens in one day, is expecting to attract 15,000 people from across the country including athletes, coaches, family and fans. The national event provides a stage for Lheidli T’enneh, and their partner, Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC, to showcase the amazing cultural and tourism experiences within the traditional territory of the Host First Nation, but also provides insight on the more than 200 First Nations, who are spread out across British Columbia.
“The leadership of the Canada Winter Games organization, who host this important national sports event, is commendable,” says Chief Dominic Frederick, Lheidli T’enneh. “Their decision to form this relationship demonstrates their desire to build collaborative and meaningful partnerships and epitomizes their progressive approach to the Games which is to truly showcase the depth and breadth of culture and diversity in this region and province to all visitors.”
In attendance at today’s celebration included Mayor Lyn Hall, City of Prince George, Mike Davis on behalf of Canada Winter Games Council, a delegation from the Four Host Nations of the 2010 Winter Olympics and Art Khaen representing the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George. National Chief Perry Bellegarde, Assembly of First Nations, was unable to attend, but sent his congratulations to Lheidli T’enneh for stepping forward and representing the 638 First Nations from across Canada.
The Lheidli T’enneh Aboriginal Pavilion official kicks off their public programming on Friday, Feb 13th at 11 am. Over the course of 17 days they have planned an exciting line-up of artists, cultural performances, facilitated workshops and gatherings in the Reception Hall. Performances will include cultural singing, drumming, dancing, jigging plus evening performances by Inez Jasper, Crystal Shawanda and A Tribe Called Red.
For more information about the Lheidli T’enneh, Official Host First Nation, visit www.lheidli2015.ca for a complete line-up of events or follow along at #lheidli2015, #AboriginalBC, #2015CanGames
About the Lheidli T’enneh:
The traditional territory of the Lheidli T’enneh stretches 4.3 million hectares from the Rocky Mountains to the Interior Plains, and includes the City of Prince George. The word, Lheidli, means, “Where the two rivers flow together,” referring to the Nechako and Fraser Rivers, and T’enneh means, “the people”. Downtown Prince George and the surrounding neighborhoods now sit on the site that was originally the Fort George Indian reserve, established in 1892. The history of the Lheidli T’enneh is a big part of the history of the City of Prince George and the entire region.