Above: North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) competitors Tehya Dickson (left) and Levi Dickson (right) pose with their medals earned in swimming. – submitted photo taken by NAIG volunteers.
by Stephen Dafoe
The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) is an event that celebrates the rich cultural heritage and athletic prowess of Indigenous communities across North America.
The games, held July 15 to 23, saw Levi Dickson (16) and Tehya Dickson (15), residents of Cardiff Echoes and students at Paul Kane, return to the area with medals.
Tehya Dickson came home with a silver medal in the 800 free, one silver medal, and one bronze medal in relays. Brother Levi came home with four medals: a bronze medal in the 50-metre backstroke, a bronze medal in the 200-metre backstroke, a silver medal for the 100-metre backstroke and another for relay.
“This experience couldn’t have been any better. It was surreal. I am so thankful for the memories our whole team made and how well and easily we all bonded through the week,” Levi Dickson said. “I have never had more fun in my life. NAIG 2023 is definitely one for the books. I swam well, which was one huge goal and coming home with those medals made things that much better.
Levi Dickson said after ten years of competitive swimming, he would not be continuing in the sport but felt NAIG was the best way he could ever think of to end his years.
“It’s been tough at times, but swimming and the amount I swam has taught me a lot,: Levi Dickson said. “I have learned discipline and how to juggle my time between swimming, school and friends, and I can now end that time of my life happy about what I have done.”
Tehya Dickson said she was extremely nervous going into NAIG as she wasn’t sure what to expect, and she wanted to do well.
“It was such a great experience,” she said. “The culture, meeting new people from all over the place and being able to develop new and long-lasting friendships was one of the best parts.”
Dickson said she was happy with how she swam, as she had struggled with swimming for a bit.
“I was right on my times that I wanted them to be,” Tehya Dickson said.
Like her brother, she is not continuing with swimming but has found another new sport she loves even more, rugby.
“So, hopefully, I can attend more indigenous games through rugby,” Dickson said. “NAIG was the best way to have ended things for me, and I am sad to be done but also need to move on to something else that makes me happy.”
Mother Stacy Dickson shares in her children’s happiness in participating in the games. “It was such an experience. They have come home with new friends from all over the place and many, many memories that will be forever cherished,” Stacy Dickson said. “They couldn’t be happier that they went and got to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event for them.”
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