Four Surrey-area athletes are among provincial winners of the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport.
An awards event was livestreamed Wednesday (Oct. 20) by the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity & Recreation Council (I·SPARC), with broadcaster Blake Price hosting.
“Each recipient embodies the qualities of a leader, is connected to their community and is committed to their studies and future goals,” said I·SPARC president Corinne McKay.
“These outstanding athletes have demonstrated perseverance and commitment to their sport during this challenging time.”
The 10 award winners include Surrey-based athletes Hillary Birkett (age 13, Metis Nation), Colton Cameron (18, Métis Nation), Kendrick Lounsbury (16, Namgis First Nation) and Taya Suttill (18, Métis Nation).
The six other recipients are Grace Currie (18, Quesnel, North Central Métis), Ellashani George (16, Duncan, Kwikwasut’inuxw, Ławitʼsis and Oneida), Clinton Kaboni (18, Merritt, Nipissing First Nation), Aidan Lenhart-Baker (25, West Vancouver, Squamish Nation), Olivia Lounsbury (18, Chilliwack, Tahltan Nation) and Kieran McKay (22, Vancouver, Michel Band).
A 30-minute “celebration video” is posted to I·SPARC’s YouTube channel, and each athlete will have their photo and biography on display at the BC Sports Hall of Fame.
In collaboration with the provincial government, I·SPARC launched a regional nomination call for the Premier’s Awards in late 2020, receiving nominations from each of I·SPARC’s six regions (Fraser, Interior, Northeast, Northwest, Vancouver Coastal, and Vancouver Island).
Nominations were open for Indigenous athletes under the age of 25 “who have competed in high-performance sport, demonstrated a commitment to their education and culture, and have promoted healthy and active lifestyles.” Six athletes were selected from each region (Northeast and Northwest were combined this year), resulting in 30 regional recipients. Of the 30 regional recipients, 10 athletes were selected as provincial recipients for the Provincial Awards.
Among the Surrey-area award winners, Colton Cameron has excelled in hockey, football, basketball, baseball, soccer, track & field and ultimate Frisbee, while Hillary Birkett is active in figure skating and track & field. Kendrick Lounsbury is a football player, and Taya Suttill plays soccer and basketball.
“Sports have had a profound impact on my life and make a positive difference in the lives of young athletes across the province,” stated Premier John Horgan. “Every young person is capable of achieving great things. This year’s recipients stand out both on and off the field, as exceptional athletes and community leaders. We are proud to recognize these high-achieving young athletes as part of our province’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.”
I·SPARC is a provincial organization established with the purpose of improving the health outcomes of Indigenous people by supporting and encouraging physically active individuals, families and communities. For more details, visit isparc.ca.