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Highlights from BC’s First Ever ‘World Indigenous Basketball Challenge’

Sixteen teams recently gathered in Burnaby for a slam-dunk tournament.

By Christopher Cheung 31 Aug 2016 | TheTyee.ca

Christopher Cheung is editorial assistant for The Tyee.

Indigenous communities from all over the world sent their best basketball players to compete in Burnaby, B.C. in August. The first HaiCo World Indigenous Basketball Challenge was organized by the Skidegate Saints team of Haida Gwaii, and welcomed Indigenous groups from as far away as Africa, the Caribbean and New Zealand.

The Skidegate Saints were repeat champions of another Indigenous basketball competition, the All Native Tournament in Prince Rupert. This local tournament has been around for 55 years, but the Saints decided to make a new Indigenous competition as big as they could, and invite the world.

“We’re very excited to be here,” said Kazlo Evans, head coach of the Maori national team of New Zealand, “[and] just celebrating the fact that we’re Indigenous, working towards a common goal of how we can learn from each other.”

The four-day event was hosted at Simon Fraser University.

“It shows our people that there’s other groups around the world that have had similar cultural and historical experiences,” said William Lindsay, director of SFU’s Office for Aboriginal Peoples.

But it wasn’t just hoops that were exchanged between the 16 Indigenous teams. Culture was shared as well. Every game, Evans’ team performed the Ka Mate, a Maori Haka posture dance that precedes battles or challenges.

Sixteen teams competed in the tournament. The South Sudan team took the championship, defeating Oklahoma’s Lords of the Plains team 98 to 91 in the finals.

But the tournament for many was a prize in itself, a chance for Indigenous people to gather and celebrate their heritage through sport.

Read more at SFU News here.  [Tyee]

This article is part of a Tyee Presents initiative. Tyee Presents is the special sponsored content section within The Tyee where we highlight contests, events and other initiatives that are either put on by us or by our select partners. The Tyee does not and cannot vouch for or endorse products advertised on The Tyee. We choose our partners carefully and consciously, to fit with The Tyee’s reputation as B.C.’s Home for News, Culture and Solutions. Learn more about Tyee Presents here.

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