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Port Moody lacrosse sisters receive Premier's Award

Jolaine and Jordan Bolam attend Heritage Woods Secondary School in Port Moody.
Jolaine Bolam and her sister, Jordan, are framed by a vintage lacrosse stick. The sisters, of Sto:lo heritage, are among 36 regional winners of the 2023 Premier's Award for Indigenous Excellence in Sport. | Mario Bartel, Tri-City News

A pair of lacrosse-playing sisters from Port Moody have been honoured for their sporting achievements and leadership in the Indigenous community.

Jolaine and Jordan Bolam are among 36 young First Nations’ athletes from across the province to be named regional recipients of the 2023 Premier’s Award for Indigenous Excellence in Sport.

The sisters, of Sto:lo heritage on their father’s side, were part of Team British Columbia’s U19 women’s box lacrosse team that won a gold medal at the North American Indigenous Games in Halifax-Dartmouth last July. The event brought together athletes from 756 Indigenous Nations to compete in 15 sports.

Jolaine Bolam was the first to pick up lacrosse that their father, Mike, had also played in his younger days. Her older sister started playing a year later.

Through the years, they’ve been able to share the floor in the Port Moody Minor Lacrosse Association and the field at the Coquitlam Adanacs field lacrosse program.

But fusing their love for lacrosse with their Indigenous heritage presented a new opportunity.

“It changes how you think of things,” said Jolaine, who also plays soccer. “We were always told we were Indigenous, but I didn’t know what it meant.”

“This has been an amazing opportunity to celebrate my heritage,” added Jordan, who scored 12 goals in the Halifax tournament — two of them in a tight 10-8 win over Ontario in the gold medal final.

“It feels special.”

Savanna Smith, who coached provincial team to an undefeated record in Halifax and has also guided the Bolam sisters in minor lacrosse, said the sport has special meaning in the Indigenous community.

“Lacrosse was a gift given to Indigenous peoples by the Creator,” she said. “When we play, we are watched over.”

In a news release, Lana Popham, B.C.’s minister of tourism, arts, culture and sports, said young Indigenous athletes like the Bolam sisters are an inspiration to all athletes.

“Sport has the power to change lives,” she said.

All of the regional winners are finalists for the provincial awards that will be announced later in the year.