Indigenous children celebrate positive impact of sport
WINNIPEG -- More than a hundred Indigenous kids were in Winnipeg Wednesday to celebrate the positive impact of cross country skiing and other sports.
The kids gathered from communities across the province to take part in a festival day.
The program, Spirit North, is "committed to improving the health and well-being of Indigenous children and youth through the transformative power of sports and play."
Sam Anthony, regional coordinator for the Manitoba chapter of Spirit North, said Wednesday's event was the biggest one of the year in the province.
"It's our annual ski-fest. This is our second year," said Anthony. "We have almost a hundred kids from four different communities, Nelson House, Berens River, Black River, and Wanipigow."
Anthony said the day consisted of ski games and lessons and it wrapped up with big ski race in the afternoon.
Spirit North said on its website that it delivered programs to over 6,000 Indigenous youth in 57 communities and 77 schools across B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario.
Gabriel Hall, land base coordinator for Hollow Water First Nation, said these events are a great opportunity for kids to connect with other groups.
"They start to build long time friendships," said Hall. "There are different opportunities to go out and meet friends from different communities."
Anthony said having events like these help show the kids what is possible through sport and recreation.
"They'll instantly go to the hardest hill they can find, the hardest uphill, the hardest corner. So they really learn how to challenge themselves, how to develop their skills," said Anthony.
Hall said this event isn't designed to build Olympic athletes, but it does help the kids build their confidence.
"It opens them up enough for them to build their confidence, to build their spirit up, to build their teamwork up. In the future that helps so much when you go out to the world," said Hall.