Two Cardiff residents competing in North American Indigenous Games

Above: Cardiff Echoes residents Levi Dickson (16) and Tehya Dickson (15) will compete with Team Alberta in swimming at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games in Halifax, Nova Scotia from July 15 to 23. – submitted photos

by Stephen Dafoe

Two Cardiff Echoes residents and Paul Kane students are preparing to represent Alberta in the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) from July 15 to 23 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Levi (16) and Tehya Dickson (15) will compete in swimming, a sport they have been involved in for the past nine years.

“They started out in the mini Os program with Olympian Swim club, which just targets strokes and how to swim for littles,” said mom Stacy Dickson, adding both children moved to the competitive side of the sport. “They loved watching their cousin Alex in Calgary swim when she would come down to Edmonton for competitions, which began their love for the sport of swimming.”

Before learning, they had been chosen for Team Alberta at the upcoming North American Indigenous Games; both students decided they didn’t want to swim any longer, which was a hard pill for mom to swallow.

With a spot on Team Alberta, that decision changed. Levi and Tehya were training three days a week, two double days—before and after school. That regimen will increase as the games get closer. Currently, they train with the rest of Team Alberta once a month in addition to their own swimming and dry-land training schedules.

Levi Dickson said he learned he was selected for the team through an email from his coach.

“My mom called me at school to tell me I was selected for the team,” Levi said. “I was excited and proud of myself for being selected to be on the team. I knew where the games were being held this year and was hoping for [the] opportunity to go to Halifax to compete.”

Sister Tehya was also proud to have been selected for Team Alberta. “I felt proud that I would be representing Team Alberta at the games this summer. I am proud to be indigenous and to be representing.”

The opportunity has rekindled their love of swimming for both competitors.

“I enjoy the sport of swimming because it is reliant on only me,” Levi said. “It requires me to practice hard to make myself faster, and I like that. I enjoy a team atmosphere but don’t enjoy having to rely on others to do well. Swimming—I am just in the pool myself and working on my own technique.”

For Tehya, it is the discipline of the sport that is appealing. “Swimming has been my whole life. It keeps you on a schedule and in shape. I love swimming and competing.”

Both students are optimistic about their and Team Alberta’s chances this summer.

“I think Team Alberta will represent well at NAIG games in Halifax this summer,” Tahya said. “I hope to come home with a medal myself. [I am] proud and honoured that I got chosen to swim for Team Alberta. I am excited for the week of being in Halifax and opening and closing ceremonies.”

Brother Levi shares a similarly positive outlook for the team.

“I would like to think the [chances] are good. I am hoping to come home with a medal or two, but I also know there will be some good competition at the games as well,” Levi said. “The experience itself will be amazing. I can’t wait for [the] opening ceremonies to see what that will look like. I am thankful for the opportunity to go and represent Team Alberta. I am very proud to be indigenous, and to represent them at the games is amazing.”

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