Several university groups participated in a relay along with community groups from all over the province this weekend. Co-operative efforts like this help to create a bond between the U of S and Indigenous community events.
The 10th annual Saskatchewan Aboriginal Indoor Track & Field Championships took place March 2 and 3 at the Saskatoon Field House, featuring a 4×100 community relay, among other events. Various groups from Saskatoon and the University of Saskatchewan participated in this relay in order to foster community at the track and field event.
Among the groups that participated, there was the Saskatoon Fire Department, the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations. The relay also included the Education Students’ Society and several colleges, such as pharmacy and nutrition, kinesiology and engineering.
Chad London, an associate professor and the dean of the College of Kinesiology, discusses the university’s participation in this event.
“It was a fun event, and it’s great to see so much university participation,” London said. “We had a challenge between different colleges. I think we had four colleges out here, and everybody had fun.”
The ESS came in third place in the relay, and the fire department came in second, despite winning the community relay last year. In first place was the Amiskusees: Semaganis Worme Family Foundation, a group that works with Indigenous women and youth with the goal of bettering Indigenous communities as a whole.
Tom Steele, a faculty member and the head of the department of physics and engineering physics, says he had fun at the event despite not coming out on top.
“A call came out for volunteers, and I run half marathons, so I thought it would be fun to give it a try,” Steele said. “It’s been fun to be here and work with other people that I don’t usually get to work with in the college and do something together. It was a lot of fun, and it was a great atmosphere.”
Robert Laprairie, an assistant professor in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, discusses the reason their college chose to participate in the relay: to foster community.
“I think it was a good opportunity for our college to work with the community and get involved in the community, so this was a no-brainer,” Laprairie said.
The Aboriginal Indoor Track & Field Championships take place every year with the purpose of promoting and celebrating athleticism in Indigenous youth, and proceeds from the event go back into training for Indigenous track and field groups in Saskatchewan. London discusses the importance of events like this in fostering a relationship between the university and the greater community.
“It’s all about community — supporting the community at large — especially with the proceeds going to track and field athletes that are part of Saskatchewan Aboriginal training groups,” London said. “That’s really what it’s about — that and coming together.”
Cory Dyck, a third-year education student who ran the relay with the ESS, notes the importance of Indigenous sports in the province, which is why the ESS decided to run in the relay.
“The event was a lot of fun, and I was glad there [were] quite a few college teams there, because Indigenous sports is something that I think we should be promoting throughout all of Saskatchewan,” Dyck said. “I thought it was a really fun way to get us all involved in raising money for a good cause.”
Lyndsay Afseth / Staff Writer
Photo: David Hartman