Sports not courts was one of the messages Williams Lake Indian Band Coun. Willie Sellars brought to the Senate on National Aboriginal Day in Ottawa.
Sellars, 32, was one of 12 Aboriginal youth leaders from across the country invited by the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples to share success stories.
Speaking from Ottawa Tuesday morning, Sellars told the Tribune his name was put forward by Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty to attend and Senator Nancy Greene Raine selected his name.
“I was one of the oldest youth delegates here, but I fit right in,” he said.
During his presentation, which was online at 6 a.m. B.C. time, he talked about WLIB’s community development, his book — Dipnetting With Dad and the Lac La Hache Tomahawks hockey team.
“I emphasized some of the neat things our community is doing like the fact we can drink our own water, and what we did with our outsource revenue and the services we can provide to our recreation department, our elders group and our daycare.”
He talked about employment and contracting opportunities that are a direct result of infrastructure projects such as the Coyote Rock business and residential development and the four-laning of Highway 97 near Sugar Cane.
“In an economy that’s as challenging as ours we’re doing our part to contribute,” he said.
Senator Lillian Dyck, who chairs the committee, said the presentations were phenomenal.
“With Willie, one of the things that really struck me was when he said ‘sports not courts,’ to counteract the influence of people who are trying to draw youth into gangs,” Dyck said. “We could hear resonating themes about reclaiming your land and your culture and how that helped them as they were serving as role models for youth.”
Dyck said on two other occasions the committee has invited youth to appear before the committee, recognizing that the youth are the largest part of the Aboriginal population.
“As the youth are becoming educated and understanding and reclaiming their identity, they are becoming leaders, so we thought it was important to listen to what they have learned and what they see needs to be done because it is affecting them directly.”