Thousands of athletes coming to the Valley this weekend for Native American Games

Jul 15, 2022, 4:05 AM

(Facebook Photo/Bell Bank Park)...

(Facebook Photo/Bell Bank Park)

(Facebook Photo/Bell Bank Park)

PHOENIX — Thousands of athletes representing more than 50 Native American tribes from across the United States, Mexico and Canada will be in the Valley this weekend to compete in various sports.

The Lori Piestewa National Native American Games begin Friday and run through Sunday, with the events taking place at Mesa’s Bell Bank Park, the Salt River Recreation Baseball Fields in Scottsdale and the Hampton Inn Queen Creek.

Athletes will compete in basketball, volleyball, wrestling, softball, baseball and cross country.

The event is named after Lori Piestewa, who was the the first Native American woman to be killed in combat while serving in the military in 2003.

“As a family, we are so grateful that the games continue to grow and impact Native American communities around the country,” the family of Piestewa, a U.S. Army soldier and Hopi from Tuba City, said in a press release.

“Our athletes and participants gather, compete and remember Lori. This is the opportunity they have every year, and this is what we love most about the Games.”

The event, presented by the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission and the Arizona Office of Tourism, has grown from 105 teams in 2019 to 170 teams this year.

It also has an economic impact on the area as hotels around the venues are sold out or near capacity, according to the release.

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Thousands of athletes coming to the Valley this weekend for Native American Games