Continuing his support of local athletics and education, Siksika convenience store owner Gordon Red Crow pledged a total donation of $20,000 over the next three years until 2023, towards the Alberta Indigenous Games in scholarship opportunities for athletes.
The seven-day event, which ran from Aug. 12 to 19, saw over 2,000 athletes from First Nations across the province competing at Rundle Park in Edmonton. Participating athletes ranged in ages from 13 to 24 and were organized into four different age groups.
Red Crow’s business was allowed to host a food truck at the games for the full duration of the event, in part due to all of his donations toward the athletes.
“We donated $2,500 for a male, $2,500 for a female and that’s over three years and then the 2023 Northern American Indigenous Games which is (against the) US and Canada, it’s going to be in Halifax, we donated $5,000 for Team Alberta Volleyball,” said Red Crow.
He added for the recipients of his scholarship donations, the impact of his donation will go a long way for aiding their ability to pay for schooling.
“The recipients are really happy. The one lady, I think she’s 21, going to Red Deer College and she’s been fundraising (and) doing bake sales. When I gave her the $2,500 cash … she was really happy and relieved. (With) school starting in two weeks, $2,500 was a huge help and same thing with the male (recipient),” said Red Crow. “He said as First Nations, (they) don’t get much for living allowance, tuition, and books. (Students) have to do part time work to offset (costs). He said this covered his whole first semester.”
Red Crow is also being allowed to host a food truck at next year’s games as well following his donations.
“It fits with my business model, it fits with the games’ model, and my son, that’s the kind of person he was – he’d take the shirt off his back for anyone and help so that’s why we made the scholarships.”
Regarding the results of the games themselves, Red Crow said Siksika brought home seven gold, five silver and three bronze placements.
According to Red Crow, Siksika “dominated” sports including softball, baseball, basketball and lacrosse, though struggled in sports such as volleyball.
The games themselves, he added, appear to be on the road to continue growing in the number of athletes they attract annually.
“I think they said 12 years ago they had 200 or 300 athletes and the way it’s organized they went to 2,000 (athletes) … and they keep growing. They’re looking at 3,000 athletes for next year.”
John Watson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times