LLRIB to host Tony Cote First Nations Summer Games

Battle fords Agency Tribal Chiefs Inc./Facebook. A player from the Battlefords Tribal Council soccer team takes a free kick during the 2022 Tony Cote Summer Games. The 2024 edition of the games will be hosted by the Lac La Ronge Indian Band.

The Lac La Ronge Indian Band (LLRIB) announced they will host the 2024 Tony Cote [Indigenous] Summer Games with the Jonas Roberts Memorial Community Centre (JRMCC) Sports and Recreation Aug. 3 to 10, 2024.

Kevin Roberts, Director of Sports and Recreation with the JRMCC, said they are confident of success, having successfully hosted the Games in 2001, with fewer facilities and resources.

“We’re just warming up our organization,”, he said.

“Back in 2001 we did host the Games and we didn’t really start planning till February. We did it in six months … we have more facilities now, so we’re confident that we’ll be able to put on a good show and meet all the requirements. We were able to do it back then and we didn’t have the arena, we didn’t have ball diamonds, we didn’t have soccer fields.”

Work on planning and carrying out the Games is already well underway, he said. Hiring staff for the Games is one of the first orders of business,  once they meet with LLRIB Chief and Council and Executive Director.

“We’re filling out co-ordinator positions,” Roberts said. “There’s Opening Ceremonies, there’ll be medical and security, all these different areas … we’ll be renovating some of our facilities on Reserve.”

There are ball diamonds at Bell’s Point, which haven’t been used, “but the backstop’s there and they have some nice outfields,  so we’ll renovate those,” he said.

They plan to make a field at Senator Myles Venne School (SMVS) and other renovations, such has infield work in ball diamonds, which means purchasing shale and putting outfield fencing around. But the largest project – putting in an all-purpose track at SMVS.

“It’s basically a rubber material that goes on the track,” Roberts said.

The existing track is asphalt, “so you can’t wear spikes on that.”

The Games potentially involve around 5,000 athletes, coaches and chaperones, who will need accommodations, so Roberts is busy contacting local establishments to make reservations.

Typically, the athletes camp out, he said. So, as they did in 2001, he hopes they will use the Elk’s Fair Grounds again for these Games.

Formerly known as the Saskatchewan First Nation winter/Summer Games, they were “initiative in 1974 by Chief Tony Cote and the Council of the Cote First Nation and their membership.”

The Summer Games were initiated to “coincide with the celebration of the 100 Anniversary of the signing of Treaty 4,” quoted from History of the Tony Cote Winter/Summer Games.

The Games have grown and been restructured over the years, including the renaming to honour Chief Tony Cote.