Sum­mer Games comes to Wagmatcook next week

Com­mu­nity to host over 2,500 ath­letes in 23 events, Au­gust 20-27; all sport­ing, cul­tural events free to at­tend

The Victoria Standard - - Sports - AN­DREW BROOKS

The 2017 Nova Sco­tia Mi’kmaw Sum­mer Games are just days away and the host com­mu­nity of Wagmatcook is abuzz with an­tic­i­pa­tion for the week-long event.

“We can’t wait to wel­come the ath­letes, their fam­i­lies and ev­ery­one in the sur­round­ing area to our events,” said Terry Bernard, Mi'kmaw Phys­i­cal Ac­tiv­ity Lead­er­ship Co­or­di­na­tor, who be­gan plan­ning the games last Novem­ber.

Or­ga­niz­ers are ex­pect­ing be­tween 5000-6000 ath­letes and spec­ta­tors at this year’s games, com­ing from Nova Sco­tia, New Brunswick and Que­bec. The Baddeck and sur­round­ing area has al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced a swell in tourist num­bers this sum­mer even com­pared to last year’s ban­ner year. With the help of the Sum­mer Games, those num­bers are ex­pected to stay strong through­out the month of Au­gust.

Among 2500 reg­is­tered ath­letes, 200 are from Wagmatcook. The games in­vite ath­letes ages 5 and up to par­tic­i­pate in the 23 events. “A 65-year old women just reg­is­tered for the horse shoe toss to­day,” said or­ga­nizer Mon­ica Goo­goo dur­ing fi­nal reg­is­tra­tion and pre-games rally at the Wagmatcook ball­field on Au­gust 11.

Goo­goo says one of Wagmatcook’s strengths has al­ways been the tug-of-war event, but the most pop­u­lar sport re­mains base­ball with over 53 base­ball teams reg­is­tered to play in sev­eral di­vi­sions. The Le­gends Base­ball Game is ex­pected to draw a big crowd on Au­gust 24th at 7:00pm.

Fel­low or­ga­nizer Amanda Goo­goo says that a tra­di­tional triathlon will be added to the ros­ter that in­cludes a 3km run, a 1 km ca­noe ride and archery. There will also be more skill­based games like washer toss and the tra­di­tional bowl and dice game, Waltes (see Vol 25 Iss 3 of The Vic­to­ria Stan­dard for a re­view of the game by Mary Louise Bernard).

While ath­letes must have First Na­tion sta­tus and have work or res­i­dence ties to one of the par­tic­i­pat­ing com­mu­ni­ties, Bernard stresses that Wagmatcook wel­comes ev­ery­one to come out to watch the games, take in nightly en­ter­tain­ment and par­tic­i­pate in the fes­tiv­i­ties at large. In ad­di­tion to sports and en­ter­tain­ment, there will be arts and crafts demon­stra­tions, sun­rise cer­e­monies and tra­di­tional song and dance. Ad­mis­sion is free for all events. The Games’ full sched­ule can be viewed at www.2017nsmsg.com.

Wagmatcook last hosted the Games in 2011. The an­nual event cur­rently cy­cles through six First Na­tion com­mu­ni­ties - Eska­soni, Mem­ber­tou, Mill­brook, Wagmatcook, Way­cobah and Pot­lotek. Or­ga­nizer Va­lerie Bernard says ad­di­tional com­mu­ni­ties have ex­pressed an in­ter­est to host the games.

The Mi’kmaw Sum­mer Games be­gan in 1972. The most re­cent in­car­na­tion of the games be­gan in 2010 when the First Na­tion com­mu­ni­ties of Cape Bre­ton agreed to fi­nan­cially back each year of the games, re­gard­less of the host lo­ca­tion. For a com­pre­hen­sive overview of the his­tory of the games, see Mau­reen Goo­goo’s “His­tory of the Nova Sco­tia Mi’kmaw Sum­mer Games” pub­lished on kukuk­wes.com on Au­gust 14, 2016.

Photo by An­drew Brooks / The Vic­to­ria Stan­dard

2017 Mi’kmaw Sum­mer Games or­ga­niz­ers, (L-R) Amanda Goo­goo, Mon­ica Goo­goo and Va­lerie Bernard at the Au­gust 11 rally. Asked if they would be par­tic­i­pat­ing in this year’s games, they laughed. “We don’t have time.” Games or­ga­niz­ers are ex­pect­ing 5000-6000 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 2500 ath­letes ages 5 and up. For full event sched­ule, visit: www.2017nsmsg.com.

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