The kids of Ahousaht take on the men of Ahousaht in a tug of war.
Photo by Rene Little
The Canada Day long weekend began for Ahousaht on June 30, when the locals welcomed home canoes carrying children in foster care.
The canoes landed on the front beach and each child was blanketed before joining family members.
According to a grandparent, the kids in care came home to Ahousaht to take part in the weekend-long annual Sports Days. There were plenty of hugs and tears of joy as the children joined their extended families.
Hosted by Ahousaht Fisheries and Ahousaht Operations & Maintenance, the 2016 Ahousaht Sports Days went five days, starting on June 30, with an evening of kids’ lahal at the Thunderbird Hall.
See photos at the bottom of this report.
Children under the age of 10 did their own singing and drumming, playing the traditional guessing game as parents and grandparents looked on.
The following morning dozens of vehicles decorated in red and white balloons paraded around the village in celebration of Canada Day. They were led by Ahousaht Elder Betty Keitlah, also known by her VHF handle Flour Power, riding a decorated scooter.
People decorated their private vehicles and volunteers decorated the village fire truck, ambulance and school van.
Children ran alongside the parade route tossing handfuls of candy to the spectators.
The rest of the weekend was filled with fun and sometimes grueling events that drew athletes and families out by the hundreds.
One day was dedicated to races for kids and another for adults. Indoor events included basketball, volleyball, lahal, Kick the Feather and Knuckle Hop.
The winner of Kick the Feather was 18-year-old Dominic Campbell with an amazing 8’4” kick. The feather he kicked was suspended from a basketball hoop.
Shandon Thomas, 15, won the marathon and the Knuckle Hop at 70 feet.
Zakariyah Thomas won the Ku-uus Mile (which is far longer than a mile) and Andrew Paul, 11, was the person in the 13 and under category to cross the finish line. Thomas also came in first place in the triathlon.
Outdoor events included track & field, tug-o-war, and canoe races. The main events were the marathon and triathlon.
All the weekend fun culminated in a community dinner followed by award presentations. Jaylynn Keitlah, 16, also won an award for best all-around athlete. The Thomas women won the canoe races for the second year in a row.
Ahousaht Fisheries Manager and Band Councillor Luke Swan Jr. was happy with the efforts of the volunteers and the number of kids that participated. “We did it for the kids,” he said.
Sports Days, he said, is about healthy living and getting the kids involved with the parents’ support.