Tsaxana – Families of the northern region communities of Nuchatlaht, Kyuquot/Checklesaht, Ehattesaht gathered in Gold River for the B.C. Day long weekend as Mowachaht/Muchalaht First Nations played host to the Annual Northern Region Games.
Scheduled to start with lunch on July 29, the opening ceremonies were delayed as participants took a more leisurely approach to the long weekend games. The slower pace seemed fitting on such a beautiful hot summer day in the sleepy little town of Gold River.
Visitors began arriving in the early afternoon and were treated to chili and fresh, homemade buns before they set up camp on the lawns outside Wameesh Center. Children played both indoors and out while elders sat in lawn chairs chatting with one another.
A salmon dinner was served later that evening as Mowachaht/Muchalaht singers blessed the food with a dinner song.
After dinner everyone moved to the beautiful new House of Unity next door to Wameesh Center where Mowachaht/Muchalaht hosts welcomed their visitors, first by singing the Northern Region Games song, composed in recent years by the Howard brothers.
The hosts asked for a moment of silence in memory of two Nuu-chah-nulth women that had passed away the week before.
The ladies performed a welcome dance and a few others before people returned to their tents for a good night’s rest in preparation for sports competitions.
They awoke to a grey, drizzly morning and went indoors for breakfast. All participants were offered free Northern Region Games 2011 t-shirts, which added to the team spirit.
Organizers decided to move the track & field portion of the games indoors, inviting kids to run foot races, hidden shoe races and other, fun, indoor activities.
Meanwhile, volunteer organizers and coaches tirelessly guided the kids through each event while parents and grandparents cheered and socialized with one another.
Over the next three days kids took part in dozens of games and sports including basketball, T-ball, slo-pitch and a grueling iron man triathalon.
Evening events included a Much Music dance, cultural dancing and bingos.
The event wrapped up Aug. 1 with Mowachaht/Muchalaht passing the stick, chuputz and treasure box to next year’s Northern Region Games Host, Kyuquot/Checklesaht.
By Denise Titian