The Junior All Native Tournament (JANT) in Nanaimo, British Columbia, is far more than a mere basketball tournament. This event serves as a cultural celebration of Indigenous peoples and the host communities of the region, offering a platform for Indigenous youth to showcase their athletic talents, as well as to share their culture with the world.
Founded in 1966, the tournament has grown to become one of the most anticipated events on the local calendar. Every year, teams from across Canada and the United States descend upon Nanaimo to compete in a number of sports, such as basketball, volleyball, and lacrosse, as well as traditional Indigenous games like archery and canoe races.
The competition is fierce and the stakes are high, but the JANT is about much more than winning or losing. It’s a chance for young Indigenous athletes to build relationships, and to foster a sense of community and belonging. The tournament also serves as a platform for Indigenous youth to share and celebrate their culture, with singing and dancing performances taking place throughout the event.
The tournament also serves to promote cross-cultural understanding and respect. This is done through the education program, which provides participants with an opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the Indigenous peoples of the region.
In addition to its educational component, the JANT provides a financial boost to the local economy. The tournament is estimated to bring over $2 million into the Nanaimo area each year, with much of this money going to local businesses.
The Junior All Native Tournament is a unique event, providing a platform for Indigenous youth to demonstrate their athletic abilities and to share their culture with the world. It’s an event that celebrates community, culture, and competition, and it’s an event that helps to create a brighter future for Indigenous youth and their host communities alike.