Indigenous curling league in Winnipeg wraps up another season

The Aboriginal Curling League has been around for 30 years, and is just finishing up another season.

Norman Meade started the league after moving to Winnipeg from northern Manitoba.

“This is a good thing to do…,” said Meade, “for one night a week…come curl, come throw rocks.

“We try to encourage family to come out.”

Family is one of the most important aspects of the league that plays out of the Thistle Curling Club, said Ivan Davis.

“We all know each other and we help each other out from beginners to – I don’t think we have serious curlers – but we all help out and pitch in and do what we can. So it’s very beginner oriented and anybody can come in and join.”

The Thistle Curling Club has been home to the Aboriginal Curling League for 30 years. Photo: Darrell Stranger/APTN News

Loretta Ross says the family atmosphere makes everyone feel at home.

“A large part of it is not only just curling but it’s being with others, others in the community,” said Ross.

“It makes you feel like home for a lot of people when so many of us are away from home.”

Meade said he’s hopeful that young curlers will help grow the league.

“I always thought that if you can get your youth to come out it helps them build self esteem and self confidence and that it really helps them,” he said.

“Curling is a sport that doesn’t cost a lot to get into it; it’s a relatively inexpensive sport to be part of and it’s a good social activity for anyone.”

Like most

Some of the younger curlers are enthusiastic about the league.

“It’s a fun competitive sport and it’s unique, most people don’t really know about it,” said Brooke Samatte, 18.

“My grandma, she used to curl in bonspiels and we would go and watch her.”

Kenton Davis is another one of the younger curlers.

“It’s just fun to do with my family, like my sister and my grandpa, just out on Monday, Wednesday, get out of the house for a bit,” he said.

At the end of the day, Ross said all anyone cares about is having fun.

“I just used to be really competitive and now I just enjoy curling with my father and, of course, I curl with my daughter – so it’s a family event, it’s a time to get together.”

The family atmosphere is a big draw for Aboriginal curlers. Photo: Darrell Stranger/APTN News

Davis said the league is important in a city with such a high population of Indigenous Peoples.

“Once you meet the group here you have probably friends for life,” he said.

The league will have a new home next year as the Thistle Curling Club is set to close.

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