As the Vancouver Stealth ready for the 2015 National Lacrosse League season on the floor, they are just as busy making news behind the scenes.
Earlier this month, the Langley-based pro lacrosse club announced the appointment of Tewanee Joseph as its senior First Nations development advisor.
Joseph is the CEO of Tewanee Consulting Group, a North Vancouver-based firm that works on a broad range of initiatives including First Nations federal legislation, land management, communications and governance.
Since purchasing the team in 2007, Stealth management have embraced an inclusive spirit and respect for the roots of the Creator’s Game.
Upon their relocation to the Lower Mainland in 2013, the Stealth have had a desire to work with Aboriginal youth in the region, but needed high-level guidance.
“This was an important decision for the Stealth. We had to get it right,” said Stealth president and general manager Doug Locker.
“I’ve known of Tewanee as a lacrosse player for years, but recently learned of the incredible work he’s done as a builder in bringing nations together. We have a lot of work to do and Tewanee’s guidance will be important to implementing our community outreach program. It’s a great honour to have a respected leader like Tewanee join us as a senior advisor.”
Joseph brings a unique perspective to the Stealth, as both a seasoned lacrosse player and cultural ambassador.
Discussing his appointment, Joseph said, “I am proud to be part of the Vancouver Stealth and look forward to implementing our plans for meaningful engagement with First Nations, Aboriginal communities as well as people from all cultures. Lacrosse continues to grow at an incredible speed and the National Lacrosse league represents the very best our game has to offer.”
And the Stealth followed this up by signing a memorandum of understanding with the Squamish First Nation, with Joseph playing an instrumental role in bringing the two sides together.
The signing, attended by Squamish Nation councillors, families, and invited guests, along with Stealth executives and players, marks the beginning of a partnership in the development of a plan to promote and support the game of lacrosse to families and youth from the First Nation.
The ceremony was marked by a prayer welcoming the Stealth to the Squamish Nation, and concluded with traditional drumming and song, autograph signings, a gift exchange, and a luncheon. The Stealth presented the Squamish Nation with two autographed jerseys, one of which will be displayed at the Chief Joe Mathias Centre, and at other is for the Squamish Nation chiefs and council. The Squamish Nation presented the Stealth with a hand-painted wooden piece by Squamish artist William Watts, which will be displayed at the Stealth office in the Langley Events Centre.
Co-Chair of council, Chief Byron Joseph welcomed the Stealth in Skwxwú7mesh Snichim (Squamish language).
“We are proud to stand together with our families and the Vancouver Stealth. Lacrosse has always been an important part of our community and is a healing game that has the power to bring people together,” he said.
“We look forward to having our people at the games with our drums cheering on our new lacrosse family.”
“We are honored to enter this relationship with the Squamish Nation. From the 1936 North Shore Indians inducted into the BC Sports Hall of Fame to some of the 2001 Presidents Cup winners present today, the people of the Squamish Nation can be proud of their champions. We hope to be equal to the task as role models,” said Stealth owner Denise Watkins, in discussing the rich lacrosse history of the Squamish Nation.