As quoted on the All Native Basketball Tournament site www.anbt.ca.
“The original All Native Tournament back then was called the Northern British Columbia Coast Indian Championship Tournament started in 1947 – 1953. The first 1947 Tournament was held in the Roosevelt Gymnasium and there were 400 spectators. The Tournament was cancelled from lack of interest. It was rekindled in 1959 to have the first Tournament on March 2nd, 1960 to present day.
This Tournament was started by the Prince Rupert Basketball Association with leadership coming from Irwin Garfield. Garfield and a small committee then organized the first All Native Tournament with 10 Senior Teams and 5 Intermediate teams and was a 4 day tournament.Now, 54 years later the tournament has 4 divisions with the largest tournament being the 50th Anniversary tournament that had 68 teams competing. The Tournament is constantly evolving, we as organizers have made changes as we go to end up with a Tournament that all the Villages want to attend. 20 years ago the Board at the time took a bold chance and added the Women and the Masters. This decision just made the Tournament twice as big. It might not sound like a huge decision now that everyone is used to it but it doubled the costs also. The per diem payed to each player everyday they are still in the Tournament amounts to our biggest costs. We are happy to see great interest from as far south as Ahousat on Vancouver Island and to the north to southeast Alaska, Hydaburg, Kake, and Metlakatla. We look forward to new teams wanting to come. This Tournament started with Village Pride and it is the back bone of this event. It is what keeps this event different from all the other Tournaments.”