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5,000 athletes and their families competed in Toronto this week, but if these stories are any evidence, the Games were about much more than winning medals. (Malone Mullin/CBC) At venues across Toronto this week, young athletes at the battled it out for medals, each bringing with them hopes, goals, and dreams.

CBC Toronto was able to tell some of those stories: tales of triumph over tragedy, determined treks from fly-in communities and young people who want to share their cultures with the wider world.

In case you missed it, here’s a roundup of our local coverage. Big-hearted locals give to Games

With just a month until the Games began, organizers were calling out for help: they were short hundreds of volunteers.

But volunteer lead Khristine Crooks Lines said locals came valiantly to the rescue in time for the opening ceremony, helping to chaperone, time events and keep score throughout the week.

CBC Toronto spoke with volunteer Liza Parry for this story, a Mi’kmaq triathlete proud to offer her time to the Games’ young athletes. The 2017 North American Games needed 2,000 volunteers, and organizers say locals helped them hit the mark. () Young artists tapped to perform for thousands

The Games’ opening ceremony turned out to be a big deal.

With 9,000 in attendance at Toronto’s Aviva Centre and surprise appearances by A Tribe Called Red and rapper Taboo of the Black Eyed Peas, all eyes were on stage.

And so were six young dancers — none of whom had ever seen such a crowd.

It took practice and discipline to build the dance performance from scratch, as CBC Toronto learned for this story:

But for the dancers, it’s not just about art. Two of these performers talked about role models and : This group of six performers, led by choreographer Santee Smith, opened the North American Indigenous Games last Sunday at Toronto’s Aviva Centre. (Paul Borkwood/CBC) Fighting ignorance…with fiddles

The Métis Fiddler Quartet serenaded the opening ceremony crowd with traditional songs. By day, quartet vocalist Conlin Delbaere-Sawchuk takes his knowledge to Toronto schools, passing on his knowledge to budding creatives.

At a concert at St. Bernard’s Catholic School, students presented the Métis songs they wrote themselves: Conlin Delbaere-Sawchuk performed with the Métis Fiddler Quartet for the North American Indigenous Games opening ceremony in Toronto on July 16. Music, he says, compels young people to learn and retain information sorely needed for reconciliation. (Malone Mullin/CBC) Sport keeps cultures alive

Ben Fleguel, an Anishnaabeg archer, learned to shoot because he wanted to hunt the way his ancestors did.

Evan John, an Oneida track athlete and lacrosse player, wants to save the Oneida language in his spare time — and he has to become fluent, fast. Ben Fleguel, from Curve Lake , learned to shoot so he could hunt traditionally. (Supplied by Ben Fleguel) Welcome to Tkaronto

​Indigenous custom welcomes guests into their territory by nodding to the land on which they live, work and play.Experts explain the tradition of territory acknowledgements: Indigenous tradition welcomes visitors by recognizing the land hosting them. A "territory acknowledgement" is a sign of honour and respect that is spoken at community gatherings. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press) Games beckon young adventurers Lavonne Kakegamic, 11, and Cherilynn Moose, 12, live in North Spirit Lake First Nation — a remote community where they know everybody by name. They’d never seen a skyscraper or been to a mall.But when they heard about the Games, the gregarious pair were determined to make their way to the bleachers in the big city to cheer on Team Ontario.CBC Toronto experienced the city with these intrepid explorers: Lavonne, […]

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