WATCH: A powerful ceremony in Nanaimo’s harbour Sunday welcomed athletes to the 2018 President’s Cup. In the spirit of reconciliation, the Lacrosse tournament is being jointly hosted by the Snuneymuxw First Nation and Nanaimo Sr. B Timbermen Lacrosse Club — and is bringing players from as far away as New York for the event.
A page pulled from the history books played out on the shores of Nanaimo’s harbour Sunday, as the Snuneymuxw First Nation welcomed athletes who arrived by canoe for the 2018 Presidents Cup National Lacrosse Championships.
“That was awesome. That is just special,” said Jim Anduchow, Manager of St. Albert’s Lacrosse Team.
“Something, coming from Alberta we’ll never, ever experience again. It’s well done.”
In the spirit of reconciliation, a traditional peace welcoming took place with the athletes bearing gifts as they were welcomed ashore by Snuneymuwx Chief Mike Wyse and council.
“We wanted to welcome our guests in a traditional way,” said Chief Wyse. “So we thought well let’s bring em forward and show them honour and respect.”
Lacrosse was played by their ancestors and now for the first time, the First Nation is co-hosting the tournament with the Nanaimo Timbermen and together bringing in athletes from far and wide.
“A reception of the history of the game,” said the President’s Cup Host Committee’s Frank Dubenski.
“I mean this is an Indigenous game and we don’t give it it’s proper respect and so this was all about setting that tone.”
“It shouldn’t be the exception. I think it should be the rule,” added Dubenski.” I think that there’s no reason why we can’t celebrate our culture here in Nanaimo with the Snuneymuxw people. And there was certainly no way that we were going to start a Lacrosse tournament like this without including Snuneymuxw.”
Uniting people through sport, the Lacrosse championship runs through next Saturday in Nanaimo.