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(Many Paths)
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Alberni's 2011 Tlu Piich Aboriginal Games Sees New Events
by Wawmeesh G. Hamilton - Alberni Valley News

They're bigger, they're better and there are new events scheduled to take place this year.

More than 900 people are expected attend the 2011 Tlu Piich Games, which are scheduled to go from Wednesday, Aug. 3 to Sunday, Aug. 7 in the Alberni Valley.

In response to suggestions last year on the Tlu Piich Facebook site three new events have been added to this year's venue: soccer, swimming and canoe racing, games coordinator Richard Samuel said.

Soccer will be in the form of family soccer that will be held after the opening ceremonies at Bob Dailey Stadium on Wednesday, Aug. 3.

Freestyle swimming makes its return to the games after a 10-year hiatus and will be held at Echo Centre on Friday, Aug. 5.

"We had inquiries about it the last couple of years but the pool was closed during the games," Samuel said. "It's not closed now, though."

And canoe racing – a historic Nuu-chah-nulth competitive event – will be held on Aug. 5 on the Somass River.

The Tseshaht and Hupacasath First Nations have donated their canoes and crews will be manned on a drop-in basis, Samuel said.

The games have grown since returning in 2009.

There were 350 event registrants age 7 and over in 2009 and more than 700 last year.

"I hope that we break the 1,000 mark but we'll see," games coordinator Richard Samuel said.

Two other changes are expected to attract more people this year.

One, the games entry requirement has been expanded.

"We're inviting people of aboriginal, Inuit, and Metis ancestry to participate in the games this year," Samuel said. "We've got some people from a tribe in Victoria coming too."

And two, Samuel and other Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council staff have reached out to urban Nuu-chah-nulth people to participate.

Nuu-chah-nulth people living in Campbell River, Nanaimo, Victoria, Vancouver and Seattle have shown an interest in the games, Samuel said.

Volunteers are needed to help run the machinery that makes the games, Samuel said.

As incentive, special draws for people who have volunteered three or more hours are being held for an Ipod Touch and Walmart gift card.

People interested in volunteering can contact Leisa Fred at 250-724-5757.

The 2011 Tlu piich Games Facebook group can be found here.

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