'It's a long time coming': B.C. Sports Hall of Fame honours Indigenous athletes
Olympic wrestler hopes exhibit gives today's Indigenous youth pride in their identity
The B.C. Sports Hall of Fame is highlighting the province's Indigenous sports stars with a new installation.
The hall held a kick-off event for its new Indigenous Sport Gallery Tuesday, a permanent, 1,000-square foot exhibit to honour Indigenous athletes, explore Indigenous sports and display mementos from various levels of sport.
According to a statement, the gallery aims to "remedy the fact that Indigenous athletes and teams have not been properly celebrated and honoured over the course of our province's history."
Formal opening message from 2018 Inductee Alex Nelson - with featured athletes Reg Underwood and Terry Felix <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IndigenousSG?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IndigenousSG</a> <a href="https://t.co/9pYulpYPWF">pic.twitter.com/9pYulpYPWF</a>—@BCSportsHall
NHL players like Carey Price and Gino Odjick were among those honoured at the gallery, as was Greg Edgelow, a wrestler who represented Canada at the Olympic and Commonwealth Games, including a gold medal-winning performance at the 1994 Commonwealth Games.
"It's a long time coming. Something very important for Indigenous athletes," Edgelow told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko.
"It's something the parents want to see as well, because as a culture, it's showing great respect for the kids but also the community — because in order to have an athlete, you need to have a community and a family."
Fantastic to have <a href="https://twitter.com/Canucks?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Canucks</a> legend <a href="https://twitter.com/ginodjick?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ginodjick</a> with us today to help celebrate the opening of our Indigenous Sport Gallery. As well thank you to <a href="https://twitter.com/ACHockeyHistory?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ACHockeyHistory</a> for loaning us artifacts to display! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/IndigenousSG?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#IndigenousSG</a> <a href="https://t.co/4eNbmWr5SO">pic.twitter.com/4eNbmWr5SO</a>—@BCSportsHall
Edgelow said when he was growing up, his Indigenous history was hidden from him by his mother.
"When she grew up, it wasn't a positive thing," he said.
He said those experiences deprived him of his culture for many years. His hope is the gallery will inspire Indigenous youth growing up today.
Hall of Fame trustee Tewanee Joseph, who also helped ensure Indigenous involvement in the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, called the the gallery an act of reconciliation.
"Here's an action: because of reconciliation, people came together … to actually do something," Joseph said.
"This how we can make Canada a better place, and British Columbia as well."
The Indigenous Sport Gallery opens to the public Wednesday.
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With files from CBC Radio One's On The Coast