ALL NATIVE BASKETBALL CEREMONIES
The All Native Basketball Ceremonies took place in Prince Rupert over the weekend.
The event, which started in 1947, attracts nearly 2,000 people from across northern B.C., including athletes, coaches, parents and spectators, and brings in extra revenue for local businesses.
“This is a time when all nations come together in Prince Rupert. This is a time when we finally celebrate somethings in this community—everybody puts their hats off at the door and we all come together and have good competition, a good game and having everybody here is just a wonderful celebration,” says Mayor Lee Brain.
It was a full house at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre Sunday night-- the crowd was buzzing with anticipation for a night that marks the celebration of sports, community, and culture.
The night kicked off with the tune of Metlakatla song and dance and one by one each team made their way onto the court, representing their city and team—as they were cheered on by family and friends.
Some people in the crowd got to witness the magic for the first time…
“I really enjoyed it. You get to see how the Native culture gets together and you get to see their dances more. Also you get to see the community and how they support everyone and support one another and watch the Native basketball teams. I’ve enjoyed my time here, it’s the first time I’ve ever seen this so it’s something new for me,” says Jovon Wilson.
“Tremendous ceremony—I’ve always wanted to come, this is my first opportunity to be here,” says NDP Leader John Horgan.
This was also my first time ever attending The All Native Basketball Tournament—and I didn’t know I would be in for such a treat— as I had the chance to witness Mayor Lee Brain and NDP LeaderJohn Horgan participate in tribal dancing.
“You know what, I dance at the All Native Basketball Tournament every year and so it was nothing new and I love dancing and I love the drumming—it’s just something about it that gets you all riled up because it’s a celebration here tonight so I had a great time,” says Brain.
“I had a blast, my knees are a little bit sore, but I’ve been playing basketball for a long long time, so if I can’t get down low to play defense, then I can’t get down low to dance,” says Horgan.
Some of the performers said it was an honour to show everyone where they are from and what they stand for.
“I was very excited to dance in front of a whole bunch of people,” said by one of the dancers.
Tsimshian Tribe leader ok Lax Kw’alaams Stan Dennis says this event gives each tribe a chance to represent their culture as well as see representations of other cultures.
“It makes it a great tournament and you meet a lot of friends that you used to go to school with and you forgot who they are until they come back here,” says Dennis.
Brain says he’s looking forward to seeing some good one on one competition—anticipating a win from one of the home teams… but was reluctant to call out one specific team.
“I’m not going to say exactly, but I’ll say one of the home teams,” says Brain.
“You know it’s the drummers and the dancers that makes it feel alive, it makes you come alive you know,” says Dennis.
“I hope that everyone has a wonderful tournament and great for Prince Rupert to open their doors to the All Native Basketball Tournament,” says Horgan.