Fans filled all of the bleachers at the Millbrook First Nation ball field to watch the final softball game before the Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Summer Games came to a close on Sunday.
The senior “A” men’s teams for the province’s two largest bands, Eskasoni and Sipekne’katik, squared off in a double header for the gold medal. Eskasoni won the first game against Sipekne’katik with a score of 5-4. Sipekne’katik beat Eskasoni 16-0 in the second game to win gold.
A closing ceremony was held at the ball field afterwards to mark the end of the games.
More than 2,000 athletes from the 13 Mi’kmaw communities in Nova Scotia registered to compete at the 2015 Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Summer Games which were held in Millbrook First Nation August 18-23. More than 20 competitions were held in sports such as archery, basketball, track and field and tug of war.
According to Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade, the number of visitors and spectators who came to watch the games “have been in the thousands.”
“The turnout has been tremendous,” Chief Gloade said on Sunday. “The feedback has been positive. Our coordinators, our community, everybody have really done an excellent job hosting the games.”
According to Ellen Marshall, the games’ coordinator, there was a positive vibe among the event coordinators and volunteers leading into the games.
“We wanted to, you know, kind of prove ourselves to the other communities that we can roll with the best of them,” Marshall said.
In addition to the sporting events, the community organized social events such as daily community meals and nightly musical entertainment. A shuttle was provided to take spectators to various events throughout the community.
As the Summer Games coordinator, Marshall was able to secure approximately $500,000 in sponsorship to help pay for the sporting and social events.
This year marked the first time the provincial sporting competition was held in a Mi’kmaw community outside of Cape Breton Island since the games were revived in 2010. It also marked the first time summer games were held in Millbrook since 1982.
Chief Gloade was 14 years old when the first summer games were held in Millbrook.
“I still remember the games clearly,” Gloade recalls. “I still have some of the memorabilia. I still have the poster from my early childhood that now sits in my office.”
It is important to create those types of positive memories for youth, Gloade said.
“Just seeing the reward when they receive their medals, just the acknowledgment that they just received for just participating and winning was truly a highlight that really touches home,” Gloade said.
Membertou First Nation will host the 2016 Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Summer Games.