By Julia Magsombol 

Local Journalism Initiative

The Columbia Lake Recreation Centre (CLRC) allowed the youth of Invermere to experience one of the oldest sports in North America: Lacrosse. 

“The vibe was great. Everyone had an amazing time,” said Nevada Nicholas, one of the staff of CLRC. 

This was the first-ever lacrosse program held on Aug. 24 in CLRC, and they hope to host it every year. Nicholas said the sport is geared to First Nations youth ages 7 to 17, adding the program is free. 

“Lacrosse is the oldest sport in North America and was invented by the Haudenosaunee (pronounced Hoad-Nah-Shaw-Nee) hundreds of years ago. Lacrosse is an Indigenous game and it is important to learn, practise and teach the art of the game to our youth to continue on,” Nicholas explained. 

The CLRC had a great partnership with the Iroquois Lacrosse Program and the Ktunaxa Kinbasket Child and Family Services Society. Kevin Sandy, the president and director of the Iroquois Lacrosse Program, along with Mekwan Tulpin, a Lacrosse coach, taught the children much more about what lacrosse was to their culture. 

“The youth learned about the historic origins of the Creator’s game. They learned and participated in fun interactive skills and drills, learned the art of stick making, and got an opportunity to play with wooden sticks. They also learned about the importance of water and nutrition, how important it is to live a healthy life, and the understanding of why lacrosse is a medicine and healing game,” Nicholas said. “[There were] lots of learning and understanding of the history of the sport.” 

Nicholas believes that lacrosse has opened a keen interest for some youth, and they hope to expand this sport to all valley residents. “[We hope] for lacrosse to become a frequent sport played at the rec centre . . . and to be available for everyone,” she added. 

Nicholas said being able to see the young participants learn and practice this “amazing sport” invented hundreds of years ago by Indigenous Peoples was very memorable.”