Snuneymuxw prepares ‘all hands on deck’ to host 2023 Junior All Native Tournament

The Youth basketball event, the largest in the province, is a significant sporting and cultural event for Indigenous teams across ‘B.C.’
Marshall, Colton and Lendl showed off their basketball skills at the Snuneymuxw Recreation and Wellness Centre on February 8 in advance of the Junior All Native Tournament. The Youth are part of the Snuneymuxw Native Sons team and will be playing in the U17 division. Photo by Anna McKenzie

Snuneymuxw Youth showcased their fierce basketball skills at a community event last week, in preparation for this year’s Junior All Native Tournament (JANT). 

Participating in timed drills, the U17 boys and U13 girls raced around pylons and dribbled their way to some impressive lay-ups. With family and community cheering the Youth on from the stands, it’s clear that they are ready to compete in the 2023 games, which are set to be the largest in the tournament’s history. 

The event will be hosted by the Snuneymuxw First Nation from March 19 to 24. 

“I look forward to this event all year,” says Jayden Thomas, a U17 Snuneymuxw Native Sons player who has competed in multiple tournaments.

“The energy everyone brings to the tournament is awesome and unlike anything else. It’s also an opportunity to meet up with old and new friends, and celebrate our culture and our love of basketball.”

Snuneymuxw previously hosted the games in 2015. Along with the City of Nanaimo, Chief Mike Wyse put together a proposal to bring the games back to the territory for 2023.

With 94 teams representing more than 100 First Nations and communities arriving in “Nanaimo” — JANT 2023 director Kate Good says “we need all hands on deck.”

In front of relatives and the greater Snuneymuxw community, Marshall sweeps the floor during timed drills at the Snuneymuxw Recreation and Wellness Centre. Photo by Anna McKenzie

“We’ve been busy putting together the tournament for the last few months now, and everything is coming together,” says Good, who is also a councillor for Snuneymuxw. 

“Now, we are looking for your help.”

JANT 2023 is looking for volunteers to support the games. There are a number of roles that need to be filled, including facility managers and scorekeepers. 

The opening ceremonies will take place on March 19 at the Frank Crane Arena at the Beban Park Complex. The tournament will take place at six different locations around “Nanaimo.” Admission is free and seats are available on a first-come basis. Canada’s First Nations Radio (CFNR) is the exclusive broadcaster for the JANT games. 

Six-time Grey Cup champion Dave Cutler speaks to Snuneymuxw Youth about excellence in sport in advance of the 2023 JANT games. Photo by Anna McKenzie

The annual tournament is hosted in a different location each year in the North, South and Central regions of “B.C.”

The tournament’s history goes back to 1947, and the first official All Native Basketball Tournament was held in 1960.

“I take great pride in my Nation,” says Good. “I’m glad that we have multiple teams that are coming to represent their own communities here in Snuneymuxw.”


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