VIEJAS HOSTS INTER-TRIBAL BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS

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1st place Barona team

March 17, 2009 (San Diego) — The Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians hosted the Inter-Tribal Sports (ITS) Basketball Championships on the Viejas Reservation on Sunday, March 15. The sports league, consisting of teams from 16 different tribes or tribal organizations in the Southern California area, provides athletic opportunities along with native cultural and spiritual development.

The championship games began at 9a.m. at the Viejas Recreation Center located on the Viejas Reservation. The basketball league is broken into three age brackets (10 and under, 11-14 and 15-18). The games were played throughout the day with single elimination. The team from Barona took first place in the 15-18 age bracket, San Pasqual took first in the 11-14 age bracket and Sycuan won in the 10 and under age bracket. The Viejas team took third in the 10 and under age bracket on their home court.

The ITS league provides tribal youth structured athletic programs with the mission of unifying tribal communities across Southern California. Since the program's inception in 2002, ITS has offered flag football, basketball and softball to 16 different tribes and more than 1,000 youth across the area. Currently, 28 teams participated in the basketball league.

ITS was developed due to the need for semi-competitive youth sports among tribal communities.

ITS ensures all participants have the necessary resources and facilities to cultivate a passion for sports, along with instilling positive core values in each player. The ITS league is a non-profit, volunteer-driven program that is overseen by a Board of Directors, with at least one representative from each participating tribe.

ITS is primarily funded by participating tribes along with grants, sponsorships and fundraising. Ultimately, the league would like to ensure every tribe is able to host games by helping build and improve recreational facilities on tribal lands.