After a week of competition at the First Nations Summer Games, athletes from Team Meadow Lake Tribal Council (MLTC) came out on top with 958 points which garnered 20 gold, 19 silver, and 20 bronze medals.
Eric Gladue, the recreation director at Flying Dust First Nation, was one of several chaperones who accompanied the 31 athletes from the band and said it was a memorable experience for everyone involved.
“They had individual awards as well and we ended up getting the athletic award, which was the top point getter in track and field,” Gladue said.
He said the majority of the athletes who came from Flying Dust won a medal. The track and field events included discus, high jump, long jump and more.
“The majority of our athletes were in athletics but we had a few in ball, a few in soccer, one in archery, and two in canoeing,” Gladue said. “We were one of the biggest tribal councils competing, with nine bands making up our team.”
Fellow chaperone Robyn Buffin said the teens were ecstatic to hear they were in the top overall spot.
“The kids were very happy when they found out that MLTC won first place out of the 13 competing tribal councils,” she said. “They all individually worked so hard in their events.”
Gladue said the athletes felt a great deal of pride the entire week, with events starting Sunday, August 6 and closing ceremonies taking place the evening of Thursday, August 10.
“At the opening ceremonies, they had all the tribal councils march in and all the athletes were there. They introduced each tribal council,” Gladue said. “It’s a big thing for our athletes getting recognized like that. They will cherish these memories for the rest of their lives. I’m 32 and I still miss it.”
Gladue said he felt honoured to be at the closing ceremonies to represent Flying Dust as the next host of the Summer Games in 2019 and to witness the renaming of the games to honour its founder.
“They are switching the naming of the games to Tony Cote First Nation Summer/Winter games,” he said. “He was the founder of the games back in 1974, so this will really honour the work that he did to get this event going in our province."
He said the First Nations games are so meaningful even beyond the sporting events.
“It’s a good outcome for our Aboriginal people, not only competing in sports, but making friends and meeting new people throughout Saskatchewan,” Gladue said.
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