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Aboriginal Sport Gallery Opening Marks Historic Milestone for Sport in BC

by NationTalk on June 23, 20081260 Views

June 23, 2008

Vancouver, BC – Media and special guests were invited to witness the unveiling of the Aboriginal Sport Gallery at the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum today — a historic milestone in British Columbia and Canada’s sport history. The gallery opens to the public today, just over four months after the February 2008 ground-breaking ceremony.The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is a first for the province. It is a permanent tribute to the contributions Aboriginal peoples (First Nations, Inuit and Métis) have made to BC’s sport heritage. The gallery also celebrates athletic achievement, showcases sport artifacts and honours Aboriginal sport history.

The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is the result of a partnership between the Province of British Columbia, the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, 2010 Legacies Now, the Four Host First Nations Society (FHFNS), the Aboriginal Sports and Recreation Association of BC (ASRA) and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).

“This gallery will inspire Aboriginal people across the province to strive to do their best in sport and in life,” said Stan Hagen, Minister of Tourism, Sport and the Arts. “This gallery, and historic events like the Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games this summer, are creating Aboriginal legacies and recording them for future generations.”

Past sport heroes, such as athletes and coaches, will be featured in the gallery displays. These displays provide an important education initiative for the public, and in particular for Aboriginal youth, to learn about and be inspired by BC’s Aboriginal sport heroes.

“Athletic excellence has been a way of life for Aboriginal peoples for centuries. Now is the time to share the incredible and historic accomplishments of our athletic heroes,” said Tewanee Joseph, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the FHFNS. “This gallery will pay tribute to traditional sports such as canoeing, lacrosse and feats of strength. It is our goal to inspire youth with this rich sport history.”

“This gallery is a powerful reminder for Aboriginal children and youth everywhere that sport is all about practicing good values and doing your best every day — that when you do your best you influence others,” said John Furlong, VANOC Chief Executive Officer. “Vancouver 2010 is proud to support such an important initiative that will celebrate past Aboriginal sport heroes and help to inspire new champions.”

“2010 Legacies Now is committed to promoting Aboriginal sport development throughout BC and this gallery provides a great opportunity to share meaningful stories of BC’s Aboriginal sport history to inspire athletes and coaches of today and tomorrow,” said Bruce Dewar, Chief Executive Officer for 2010 Legacies Now.

The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is located within the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum at Gate “A” of BC Place Stadium in Vancouver and is an ideal location because of the large number of youth and educators who visit the facility each year.

“In keeping with our vision to honour the past and inspire the future, the Aboriginal Sport Gallery will be a great permanent addition to our inspiring showcase of BC’s world-class athletes and heroes,” said Sue Griffin, President and Chief Executive Officer of the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. “Programs such as these can provide the inspiration that may give Aboriginal youth the courage to follow their dreams and find the passion to succeed.”

“The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is like a traditional Big House where Aboriginal athletes are profiled and honored to encourage, empower, inspire and grow future champions and heroes,” said Alex Nelson, Executive Director for ASRA. “The fire within brings life and new possibilities to Aboriginal youth — what a difference this legacy will make in their lives. Tomorrow will produce more active youth and a healthier people.”

The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is open to the public seven days a week from 10 am to 5 pm.

About the Province of BC

The Province of BC recognizes active lifestyles play an important role in the health of individuals and their communities. That’s why the Province is working to increase recreation and sport opportunities to Aboriginal people in British Columbia by providing support to Aboriginal organizations in three areas: sport performance; sport participation and capacity/sustainability. For more information about BC’s Sport and Recreation Branch Aboriginal Programs visit For more information about the Province’s efforts to build the new relationship with Aboriginal people in BC, visit

About the Four Host First Nations Society

The Four Host First Nations Society is a not-for-profit organization that has been established to coordinate the participation in the 2010 Winter Games by the Lil’wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. To learn more about the Four Host First Nations Society, visit:


VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit

About 2010 Legacies Now

2010 Legacies Now is a not-for-profit society that works in partnership with community organizations, non-government organizations, the private sector and all levels of government to develop sustainable legacies in sport and recreation, healthy living, arts, literacy, accessibility and volunteerism. 2010 Legacies Now assists communities to discover and create inclusive social and economic opportunities leading up to and beyond the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. For more information, please visit

About the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

Honouring the Past. Inspiring the Future. The British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring excellence through the stories of British Columbia’s sport heroes. Located at Gate “A” of BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver, the inspiration for the BC Sports Hall of Fame is its honoured members and the collection of artefacts and stories of their challenges and triumphs. To learn more about the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, visit

About the Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Association of BC (ASRA)

ASRA fosters youth leadership and the adoption of healthy, active, addiction free and positive lifestyles through involvement in summer and winter sports. With an emphasis on participation, excellence, capacity and enthusiasm, we offer programs to improve the quality of life and sport experiences for BC’s Aboriginal people. To learn more, visit:


VANOC Communications

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