Inspired by the reality TV series, The Amazing Race, the community of Kwantlen First Nation hosted its own race competition that blended culture, tradition and community spirit.
The day-long event was supported through the FNHA's Indigenous Peoples Day of Wellness Grants and occurred on June 21. There were 21 teams of two that participated in the race itself, with close to 30 volunteers and a community full of spectators who also took part to make this event a success.
To keep everyone safe, physical distancing measures were put into place, including a limit of people per station. Additionally, wearing a mask was mandatory and sanitation was also provided at each station.
Kwantlen Pride was evident at each challenge
With a flip of a coin, heads or tails, it was decided which team member would eat the head or the tail of an eulachon fish. This is the kind of challenge that teams encountered, staying true to the traditional way of the Kwantlen people.
Teams that participated in the race were timed as they completed 11 challenges that focused on themes of knowing the language and culture. In one challenge, participants needed to match the reserve lands on a map. Another required them to memorize a bingo card in the Halq'emeylem language.
The intensity and competitive nature of the race didn't stop the community, volunteers and racers from enjoying some laughs and creating great memories along the way.
A great community effort for a day of laughs and joy
The wellness event organizer, Carrie Mitchell, Education and Safety Coordinator with the Kwantlen First Nation, said that the event took more than a month of planning and preparation.
Having partnerships was important for the event, and it offered a chance for the community to build more positive connections with their partners, including the Langley RCMP, School District 35, Eagle Acres Farm and Fort Historic Site.
“The race provided opportunities for community bonding," said Carrie. “Every station had stories that people wanted to share. The Elders were excited."
Everyone crossed the finish line
The race was a fun way to blend culture and fitness. The first-place team, Tank and Tootsie, completed the race in 18 minutes and 18 seconds. Even more impressive is that they completed the race with children in tow, including a newborn who required breastfeeding from Momma racer.
Second place went to a team from the Aboriginal Headstart On Reserve program named Headstart Honeys, followed in third place by a newly-wed couple Wieses Pieces. Organizers also provided a prize for best dressed to the Twisted Sisters who were wearing rainbow-coloured tutus.
The event was such a success that many community members want to see a re-match, hoping to have the race become an annual event.