Aboriginal Sport Gallery opening marks historic milestone for sport in BC

    VANCOUVER, June 23 /CNW/ - Media and special guests were invited to
witness the unveiling of the Aboriginal Sport Gallery at the BC Sports Hall of
Fame and Museum today - a historic milestone in British Columbia and Canada's
sport history. The gallery opens to the public today, just over four months
after the February 2008 ground-breaking ceremony.
    The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is a first for the province. It is a
permanent tribute to the contributions Aboriginal peoples (First Nations,
Inuit and Métis) have made to BC's sport heritage. The gallery also celebrates
athletic achievement, showcases sport artifacts and honours Aboriginal sport
    The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is the result of a partnership between the
Province of British Columbia, the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, 2010
Legacies Now, the Four Host First Nations Society (FHFNS), the Aboriginal
Sports and Recreation Association of BC (ASRA) and the Vancouver Organizing
Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).
    "This gallery will inspire Aboriginal people across the province to
strive to do their best in sport and in life," said Stan Hagen, Minister of
Tourism, Sport and the Arts. "This gallery, and historic events like the
Cowichan 2008 North American Indigenous Games this summer, are creating
Aboriginal legacies and recording them for future generations."
    Past sport heroes, such as athletes and coaches, will be featured in the
gallery displays. These displays provide an important education initiative for
the public, and in particular for Aboriginal youth, to learn about and be
inspired by BC's Aboriginal sport heroes.
    "Athletic excellence has been a way of life for Aboriginal peoples for
centuries. Now is the time to share the incredible and historic
accomplishments of our athletic heroes," said Tewanee Joseph, Executive
Director and Chief Executive Officer of the FHFNS. "This gallery will pay
tribute to traditional sports such as canoeing, lacrosse and feats of
strength. It is our goal to inspire youth with this rich sport history."
    "This gallery is a powerful reminder for Aboriginal children and youth
everywhere that sport is all about practicing good values and doing your best
every day - that when you do your best you influence others," said John
Furlong, VANOC Chief Executive Officer. "Vancouver 2010 is proud to support
such an important initiative that will celebrate past Aboriginal sport heroes
and help to inspire new champions."
    "2010 Legacies Now is committed to promoting Aboriginal sport development
throughout BC and this gallery provides a great opportunity to share
meaningful stories of BC's Aboriginal sport history to inspire athletes and
coaches of today and tomorrow," said Bruce Dewar, Chief Executive Officer for
2010 Legacies Now.
    The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is located within the BC Sports Hall of Fame
and Museum at Gate "A" of BC Place Stadium in Vancouver and is an ideal
location because of the large number of youth and educators who visit the
facility each year.
    "In keeping with our vision to honour the past and inspire the future,
the Aboriginal Sport Gallery will be a great permanent addition to our
inspiring showcase of BC's world-class athletes and heroes," said Sue Griffin,
President and Chief Executive Officer of the BC Sports Hall of Fame and
Museum. "Programs such as these can provide the inspiration that may give
Aboriginal youth the courage to follow their dreams and find the passion to
    "The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is like a traditional Big House where
Aboriginal athletes are profiled and honored to encourage, empower, inspire
and grow future champions and heroes," said Alex Nelson, Executive Director
for ASRA. "The fire within brings life and new possibilities to Aboriginal
youth - what a difference this legacy will make in their lives. Tomorrow will
produce more active youth and a healthier people."
    The Aboriginal Sport Gallery is open to the public seven days a week from
10 am to 5 pm.

    About the Province of BC

    The Province of BC recognizes active lifestyles play an important role in
the health of individuals and their communities. That's why the Province is
working to increase recreation and sport opportunities to Aboriginal people in
British Columbia by providing support to Aboriginal organizations in three
areas: sport performance; sport participation and capacity/sustainability. For
more information about BC's Sport and Recreation Branch Aboriginal Programs
visit www.tsa.gov.bc.ca/sport/programs/aboriginal_programs.htm. For more
information about the Province's efforts to build the new relationship with
Aboriginal people in BC, visit www.gov.bc.ca/arr.

    About the Four Host First Nations Society

    The Four Host First Nations Society is a not-for-profit organization that
has been established to coordinate the participation in the 2010 Winter Games
by the Lil'wat, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations. To learn
more about the Four Host First Nations Society, visit:

    About VANOC

    VANOC is responsible for the planning, organizing, financing and staging
of the XXI Olympic Winter Games and the X Paralympic Winter Games in 2010. The
Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games will be staged in Vancouver and Whistler
from February 12 to 28, 2010. Vancouver and Whistler will host the Paralympic
Winter Games from March 12 to 21, 2010. Visit www.vancouver2010.com.

    About 2010 Legacies Now

    2010 Legacies Now is a not-for-profit society that works in partnership
with community organizations, non-government organizations, the private sector
and all levels of government to develop sustainable legacies in sport and
recreation, healthy living, arts, literacy, accessibility and volunteerism.
2010 Legacies Now assists communities to discover and create inclusive social
and economic opportunities leading up to and beyond the 2010 Olympic and
Paralympic Winter Games. For more information, please visit

    About the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

    Honouring the Past. Inspiring the Future. The British Columbia Sports
Hall of Fame and Museum is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to
inspiring excellence through the stories of British Columbia's sport heroes.
Located at Gate "A" of BC Place Stadium in downtown Vancouver, the inspiration
for the BC Sports Hall of Fame is its honoured members and the collection of
artefacts and stories of their challenges and triumphs. To learn more about
the BC Sports Hall of Fame and Museum, visit www.bcsportshalloffame.com.

    About the Aboriginal Sport and Recreation Association of BC (ASRA)

    ASRA fosters youth leadership and the adoption of healthy, active,
addiction free and positive lifestyles through involvement in summer and
winter sports. With an emphasis on participation, excellence, capacity and
enthusiasm, we offer programs to improve the quality of life and sport
experiences for BC's Aboriginal people. To learn more, visit: www.asra.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Nicole Mezzarobba, Coordinator,
Communications, 2010 Legacies Now, (778) 327-5139,
nmezzarobba@2010legaciesnow.com; Tewanee Joseph, Executive Director, Four Host
First Nations, (778) 327-5775; Teresa Moore, Communications Director, Ministry
of Tourism, Sport and the Arts, Province of British Columbia, (250) 356-9869,
Teresa.Moore@gov.bc.ca; Katie Green, Specialist, Media Relations, VANOC, (778)
328-6473, katie_green@vancouver2010.com; Alex Nelson, ASRA, (250) 544-8172,
alex.nelson@asra.ca; Allison Mailer, Director of Operations, BC Sports Hall of
Fame and Museum, (778) 839-8576, allison.mailer@bcsportshalloffame.com

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