by Angus MacCaull

Eastern Eagle drummed in the athletes and chiefs at the opening of the 2015 Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Summer Games.

“Boom boom boom boom,” went the beat. The singers voices soared high.

The Games are a chance for Mi’kmaw competitors young and old to come together and test their mettle. Events are held in sports like baseball, basketball, archery, golf and tug of war. There is also a princess pageant and musical entertainment.

Originally started in 1977, the Games were hosted in several places over the early years. The Games then had a long break before their revival by first nations communities in Cape Breton in 2010. This year’s Games were held in Millbrook First Nation, which last hosted in 1982. Millbrook built a brand new presentation stage for 2015 on their Powwow Grounds.

The annual passing of the scroll was the official opening of the action. The scroll runners from last year’s host nation Potlotek passed the scroll to Chief Bob Gloade of Millbrook.

The tradition of passing the scroll is similar to the carrying of the Olympic torch. 

“The Mi’kmaw spirit is certainly alive and well!” said Chief PJ Prosper of Paq’tnkek during the opening ceremony.

“Sorry, had to take a selfie!” said event co-ordinator Ellen Marshall of Millbrook as she took a picture of herself with the chiefs on the stage.

Ellen Marshall has a lot to be proud of—leading the organization of the Games is a big job.

Thousands of athletes, spectators and volunteers participated over the course of the week, from August 17th to the 23rd.

Volleys were served, home runs hit, birdies smashed, and washers tossed. Medals went to the winners. Food was shared from a variety of vendors, including free meals for the athletes, prepared by Jileen Julien and her team. Beaders Valerie Meader Julian and Councillor Natasha Bernard presented beautiful beaded medallions commemorating the Games to the Mi’kmaw chiefs. Entertainers graced the presentation stage in the evenings, including comedian Ryan McMahon, rappers City Natives, and country-blues singer Crystal Shawanda.

Now with more than five successful years since their revival, the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Summer Games are gaining momentum. The Games are proving to be a positive experience for youth and a focal point for bringing communities together.

Next year, the 2016 Games are headed to Membertou.