TYENDINAGA – On July 3, the Torch Relay will makes its way through Tyendinaga on its way to Toronto to begin the 2015 Pan and Parapan Am Games. Chief Don Maracle told Two Row Times, “About three months ago we received a phone call and an email form the people who were organizing the Toronto 2015 Torch Relay. [They] asked if we would like to be one of the communities they stopped over for on the Torch Relay to Toronto and so we said yes.”
The Torchbearers are 13-year-old Iakohentiio Claus of Quinte Mohawk School and 18-year-old Noah Sager of Moira Secondary School. Iakohentiio and Noah are two of more than 3,000 Torchbearers who, as announced on the Toronto 2015 website, also include Jim Cuddy, lead singer for Blue Rodeo, and Wayne Simmonds of the Philadelphia Flyers.
Iakohentiio Claus played basketball in last year’s Indigenous games. In an online interview, Noreen Claus said, “She also went to the indigenous games last year in Regina and played for Team Ontario, girls under 14 division. She was the youngest girl on the team having not quite turned 13 yet.”
Noah Sager, according to the Tyendinaga Newsletter, is an athlete who has enjoyed hockey for the majority of his life. He is currently at the junior hockey level and plays for the Picton Pirates. He also helps coach his high school varsity boy’s hockey team. Both youths are set to graduate from their respective schools in June.
The Torchbearers will start at the Quinte Mohawk School and finish on the grounds of the Band Council building, says Bev Hill, Communications Officer for Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory. A short ceremony will take place where Chief Maracle will “offer words of congratulations and best wishes to the event.” After that, people will be invited to stay for a barbeque.
Chief Maracle had this to say about participating in the Torch Relay: “We are very happy to host the torch for our community. I think it’s a chance for our young people to participate in something that is being recognized in the world and celebrated. It’s an opportunity for us to promote our community, our people, [and] our nationhood.”
The flame for the Pan and Parapan Am Games was lit on May 30th during a traditional ceremony in Teotihuacan, Mexico and it will take 41 days to pass through more than 130 communities, finishing on July 10th in Toronto, Ontario to open the Pan Am Games. Of the 130 or more communities involved, five will be First Nations communities: Fort Williams First Nation on Day 2, Serpent River First Nation on Day 4, Aamjiwnaang (Sarnia) First Nations on Day 17, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nations on Day 20 and then Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory on Day 34.
The Pan Am Games themselves will be held in Toronto from July 10 to July 26, while the Parapan Games will run from August 7 to August 15. According to a power point presentation given to Two Row Times by Chief Don Maracle, the Pan Am Games was first thought of in 1932 during the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. The idea was liken to the Olympics but only for the countries in North and South America. According to this presentation, “The first Pan Am Games were held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1951 and the first Parapan American Games were held in Mexico City in 1999.”