By Michael Christianson
Once again First Nations from across the north gathered in Dryden last week but it was a brand new tournament that brought them to the city this time.
The Memorial Arena hosted the 1st Annual Keewaytinook Ladies Broomball Tournament, which saw 14 teams compete for a top prize of $20,000.
Teams came from all across the region from as far away as Fort Severn First Nation.
Organizer Ken Goodwin Jr. said the two ice surfaces at the arena was a big factor in having the tournament in Dryden.
“I’m hoping to come back next year, the turn out is good, 14 teams is pretty good,” said Goodwin. “I think we only have room to expand and I feel with the word of mouth from these girls they will grab other teams that are not here this year and next year hope that they come.”
Regional Chief of Ontario Isadore Day was on hand to kick off the tournament and speak to those in attendance. He said he commends all the organizers for putting this gathering together.
“You look at these young women that are collaborating together and having fun, there’s a strength there,” said Day. “At this point in time in the history of Indigenous people in Canada there’s a movement of reconciliation but there’s also a movement of empowerment of our women.”
Day also added that lots of things happen behind the scenes, such as family gatherings and these meetings help to foster reconciliation.
“This is not happening in a first nation community it’s happening in the city of Dryden; we know the recent history with regard to some contentious issues in the senate and this helps communities move beyond that sort of thing, that’s what it’s about.”