Since writing for a small newspaper in northern Manitoba (2012-2014) I have continued writing articles moving from place to place. As you know the format in which news is related to the public has changed. It is easily done via your Facebook feed, all in one click. What I write may not coincide with your core beliefs, or point of view; but you can rest assured that it is factual and unbiased. I hope that you take some reference to what I am conveying within these articles.
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
"We don't care about the score, we care about who wins."
The three-day event (Treaty 3 Territory Mixed Native Curling Bonspiel) assembled twenty-four teams
from neighboring reserves and non-indigenous residents from Kenora. Ken
Kakeeway’s team lost the A-side finals to the Miroslav Medicine team by a score
of 9-5. The Tom Ricard team won the B-side finals, and Monique Medicine team
won the C-side finals.
Co-coordinators of the bonspiel Donna Indian,
Larry Morrison, Guy Henry and Delores Medicine explained that events such as
these have a purpose, “It’s the feeling of participating in an event that’s
First Nations organized and where the majority of players are indigenous
persons,” said Indian.
First Nation Communities in Northwestern
Ontario do not have curling facilities in which to promote the sport. Some
indigenous curlers have admitted during this weekend’s bonspiel; that this is
an issue. Indian spoke of this and perhaps other social barriers that make
sports oriented activities such as this latest bonspiel…so vital.
there are lots of curlers out there, and they don’t curl on a regular basis, but
we make sure that we get them to participate during this bonspiel….All the
‘nish (First Nations) curlers," added Indian smiling. Indian and Morrison
are of the view that distance and the lack of curling rinks inhibit those
within the communities of Whitefish, Sabaskong, and others from participating, “…they
either can’t travel or have the necessary funds ($200 entry fee) and none of
the First Nations have a curling rink,” commented Indian.
(L-R) Loranda Tom, Miroslav Tom, Dolores Medicine, Gary Tom
Roland White from the Whitefish First Nation
community agreed, “When Sioux Narrows did have a curling rink, (condemned due
to age) it was just a 10 minute drive. Now we have many people who curl but not
on a league basis. Getting a rink back in Sioux Narrows is something that we
really want to see happen. We have a lot
of players who enjoy curling.” Morrison explained that efforts were made to
organize some sort of league, but lacked the support of communities outside the
Kenora area, “It’s the cost….we would need to raise or come up with $5000.00.”
Nevertheless, for the past ten years members of
the curling community have steadily labored to attract the necessary corporate
sponsorship and private donations to make the annual Treaty Territory Three bonspiel
event a reality. “Ever since we've been involved with this, it’s become more
and more popular,” commented Morrison. “It has a lot to do with socializing,
everyone has fun. We try to fund-raise as much as we can so that we can put
almost a 100% of the cost towards prizes.”
Of course, when we speak of curling, the
question of ice quality is paramount, “The advantage we have here in Kenora is
the ice…its quality and the way if performs for curlers. It makes a big
difference and a major motivator for people to participate in our bonspiel,”
confirmed Indian. Morrison, Indian, and their co-coordinators also appreciate
the contributions they have received, “…they donate monetarily or in the form
of door prizes. We wouldn't be able to offer the range and quality of prizes
had it not been for many corporate local contributors, (i.e. Copperfin and JM
Plumbing) and individual donors,” commented Indian.
Of course, winning is always a part of the game and Morrison makes no bones about it, "We don't care about the score, we care about who wins," he said grinning. While that may be true, most of the participants have said that what really makes this bonspiel so special is that they are one big family.