Nuxalk Nation youth from Acwsalcta School were among dozens of participants who participated in the Dzilh K’it Skak Ilth’tus – “Strong Children of the Mountain” Enduro event, hosted by the Lake Babine Nation (LBN) and Spirit North at the Kager Lake Mountain trails site on Sept. 21.
Dozens of riders from LBN and Burns Lake participated in races, a bike decoration parade and a selfie orienteering challenge. Nuxalk youth included Jarome White, Jade Mack, Ronaldo James, Aiyanna Schooner, Gavin Tallio, and Tamara Robson
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It was a long ways to travel, and Nuxalk youth camped at Kager Lake Rec Site for three nights in the heart of the bike trails. The students received free coaching thanks to the Burns Lake Mountain Bike Association, and were asked to lead a drumming circle the night before the event in front of local resident. The students also sang for the Opening Ceremonies at the race. Rachelle van Zanten, event organizer and Spirit North coach, welcomed the students with open arms and was an enthusiastic host.
“Each Acwsalcta student made a good name for their school and the Nuxalk Nation through singing, dancing, biking, and positive social interactions with the mountain bike community of Burns Lake,” said their teacher and coach Lindsey Gericke. “The students have been invited to come back again next year.”
The event was inclusive and meant to be fun as well as challenging. Gericke’s young daughters, Lila, 6, and Ivy, 4, also participated in the race.
Jarome White won first in his category, while Gavin Tallio took second and Jade Mack took fourth; overall a great first showing for the Nuxalk youth.
Spirit North, headquartered in Edmonton is an athletics program that aims to engage First Nations youth in sports.