A North American Indigenous Games Experience

Local basketball players John and Joey Gravelle, and Grace Agawa returned home to their respective sides of the St. Mary’s River after a week in Kjipuktuk, Nova Scotia where they participated in the tenth North American Indigenous Games. The boys’ U19 Team Michigan swept their pool play games, easily beating teams from Nova Scotia (84-55), Yukon (77-58) and Haudenosaunee (61-40). John scored eight points in both of the Yukon and Haudenosaunee games, while Joey netted six and five points, respectively. In the quarterfinal game, Team Michigan fell to eventual Bronze Medalists Team British Columbia, with a score of BC 83, and MI 52. John came away with two points and Joey had four. The boys’ parents couldn’t be prouder. “We’re just happy they got to go super proud they won 3 games and got the experience of a life time and of course thank you again to everyone who supported them throughout this whole thing and logged in to watch them play!”

Grace, a member of the U16 Team Ontario enjoyed her week at the games. “I think my favourite part of NAIG was meeting new people. I got to meet so many people from different places and they were all so nice. I also got to meet a lot of coaches from different teams who would “recruit” me to their team.” Team Ontario lost their first game to Alberta (74-24), but rallied and beat Eastern Door and the North (47-18). Grace had two points in the first game, and eight in the second. Team Ontario also fell to eventual Bronze Medalists British Columbia (54-45) in the quarterfinals, with Agawa scoring five points in that game. Grace’s parents were tremendously proud of how she did. “She played well and the team was so supportive of each other.” When not practicing or playing a game, Grace really enjoyed her time in Nova Scotia. “Some things I got to do was watching the other Ontario basketball teams play like the U14, U16, and the U19 Teams. I also got to go to the cultural village, Peggy’s cove and the boardwalk. The whole experience was something new and I’m glad I had the opportunity to go to Halifax.”

The games wrapped up with Saskatchewan (175), British Columbia (161), and Ontario (127), bringing home the most medals overall. 

The 2027 North American Indigenous Games are set to take place in Calgary, Alberta. 

Photos courtesy of Rachel McCord and Angela Agawa. 

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