Indigenous volleyball players from northwestern Ontario compete in high-stakes tournaments at Kingfisher Lake Indigenous.
Twenty-eight teams, ages 13 to 47, will compete for a $25,000 first prize in games held at local gyms. The five-day tournament runs from 9:30am to midnight over the course of the week.
Priscilla King, one of the event’s organizers along with her husband Chris, said, “We are united, our children are united, we are united as a nation to build friendships and showcase our skills on the court.
The people of Kingfisher Lake welcomed 21 teams from outside the community. Visitors stay with local families and use the rides to and from the game, and the community hall serves as the kitchen for meals, King said.
“We house them, we feed them, we provide transportation,” she said. “Even community members and elders really support this event. I see middle-aged and elderly people.There is also a section for seniors only in the gymnasium.”
Volleyball is big in the First Nations of northern Ontario. early this summer, The Treaty 3 Titans won nine medals, including four gold and one silver.at the Ontario Summer Indigenous Games in Ottawa.
The show attracted the interest of scouts from universities in southern Ontario, and there were plans to come to Kingfisher Lake, but they were unable to arrange a trip in time.
The tournament also included MPP Sol Mamakuwa from Kingfisher Lake and the leaders of Nischnaube Asci Nation, who faced Kingfisher Lake’s hometown leaders in Thursday afternoon’s three-game series.
Dunno Moose plays for the Cobras, one of two Poplar Hill First Nation teams. He is known as Superman because of the T-shirt he wears in the game.
“We have a good team – we’ve been together since 2016,” he said. “It’s my first time at Kingfisher, but it’s a good community.”
Despite previous successes, Moose said it’s too early to say he’s likely to win the $25,000 prize.
“We played on Webequie [First Nation] I won there last year. Two years ago, I competed in another competition and won. [but] There are a lot of good teams around here,” Moose said.
He noted Kingfisher Lake’s top talent and said he was impressed with some of the young players he was playing against. Poplar Hill’s youth team was undefeated in the division heading into the playoffs.
“It’s a great place to play some fun games,” Moose said. “It’s been a wonderful trip.”
The tournament will run until Saturday (August 27th).