Dedicated young athlete, Jessina Goodswimmer has had an exciting summer of travel and competition

Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation’s intermediate volleyball team at practice at Ecole Providence gym with coach Carla Papastesis (front left) prior to travelling to Edmonton for the Alberta Indigenous Games 2017.

Tom Henihan
Express Staff

G.P. Vanier student and McLennan resident Jessina Goodswimmer has had an eventful and exciting summer.

The avid sports enthusiast who is entering Grade 9 in the September has travelled to Toronto as part of Team Albert U16 Softball team at the 2017 North American Indigenous Games.

The Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) hosted over 5,000 participants and 2,000 volunteers making it the largest sporting and cultural gathering of Indigenous Peoples in North America.

The 10-day event featured 14 categories of competition: track and field, baseball, softball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, badminton, swimming, volleyball, golf, rifle marksmanship and traditional First Nations’ competition including lacrosse, archery, canoeing and kayaking.

The event, which took place from July 16 to July 23, also had a cultural component of traditional dance and music.

Having just returned from her trip to the Toronto NAIG, Goodswimmer began training and preparing for another important event: The Alberta Indigenous Games in Edmonton this time competing with the Sturgeon Lake Cree Nation’s Volleyball, intermediate team.

The Sturgeon Lake Outcasts and their coach Carla Papastesis met for practice at Ecole Providence gym on Saturday August 5, a week prior to the Alberta Indigenous Games.

The Edmonton Native Ball Association (ENBASports) organized the 2017 Alberta Indigenous Games with the theme of “Reclaiming Our Youth through Sport Development, educational empowerment, career opportunities and cultural connection.”

The games also showcased entertainment, a career fair, barbeque and round dance, talent show, Elders Village and a cultural arts and crafts village.

Goodswimmer, who received the 2016 G.P. Vanier, Aboriginal Spirit Award also performs First Nations traditional dance.

Left, Jessina Goodswimmer with Sturgeon Lake Outcasts team mate training at Ecole Province gym, August 5.

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