Paddler wins a 2017 Premier’s Award for Aboriginal Youth Excellence in Sport

November 15, 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 Tuesday 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.

Among the recipients was Gordon George who paddled at the 2017 North American Games in Toronto. A member of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, George won three medals at the Games.

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.

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.

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

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

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Canoe Kayak BC is the Provincial Sport Organization for the paddle sports and actively encourages and provides opportunities to enjoy, participate and excel in them. Members include competitive athletes, developing athletes, enthusiasts, coaches, officials, administrators and supporters of the sport. The association's mission enourages and promotes personal growth and success for our members through participation and performance in paddle sports.

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