THE UNIFYING POWER OF SPORT – ONE YEAR COUNTDOWN TO THE TORONTO 2017 NORTH AMERICAN INDIGENOUS GAMES
2017 NAIG – The countdown is on. Only one year remains until the largest continental sporting and cultural gathering of Indigenous peoples – the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (2017 NAIG) – will take place in Toronto on the shared traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Huron-Wendat Nation and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, with the support of the Métis Nation of Ontario.
From July 16-23, 2017, the Games will welcome more than 5,000 participants, 2,000 volunteers and a number of other spectators and dignitaries from across North America. Sport and cultural venues include Humber College, University of Toronto Scarborough, City of Toronto facilities and Six Nations of the Grand River. A total of 14 sports will be offered for competition during the event and a week-long cultural village will be housed at York University featuring nightly programming including traditional teachings, Indigenous artists and other cultural performers.
Earlier this week, the City of Toronto approved cash and in-kind funding for the Games in the amount of $400,000. This significant contribution, together with previous major pledges of up to $3.5 million by both the Government of Canada and the Province of Ontario, symbolizes financial and resource support from all levels of government.
In addition to the One Year Countdown celebrations at David Pecaut Square in Toronto on Friday, members of NAIG Council and Mission Staff from participating Territories, Provinces and States arrive to tour 2017 NAIG venues – many of which were built for the Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan Am Games.
The North American Indigenous Games began as a dream in the 1970’s with a vision to improve the quality of life for Indigenous Peoples by supporting self-determined sport and cultural activities; a springboard to encourage equitable access on a society wide-scale, in the full participation of the social, cultural and spiritual fabric of the communities in which Indigenous people live.
Today, the Games present an opportunity to embrace Canada’s remarkable community spirit, inspire hope for future generations of Indigenous youth while celebrating sport and culture. For those looking to get more involved in the Games, the Toronto 2017 NAIG Host Society will be launching its official volunteer recruitment campaign, in addition to a medal design contest in the near future.
- After an extensive bid process put forth by the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO), Toronto was selected as the Host City for the 2017 NAIG Games.
- The Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games Host Society was formed and incorporated as a not-for-profit organization to manage the execution and operations of the Games.
- Venues for the Games include:
- Allan A. Lamport Regatta Course
- Don Valley Golf Club
- Gaylord Powless Arena
- Humber College
- Iroquois Lacrosse Arena on the Six Nations of the Grand River Reserve
- Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre (jointly owned by the University of Toronto and the City of Toronto)
- University of Toronto Scarborough Valley Fields
- York University
- The Games provide Indigenous youth, aged 13-19, an opportunity to showcase their athletic abilities through 14 sports and their heritage through numerous cultural events.
- Over 5,000 athletes and 2,000 volunteers will take part in the Toronto 2017 NAIG.
- Participating teams come from all 13 provinces and territories, as well as 13 regions in the United States.
- Funding from all levels of government towards the 2017 NAIG, addresses key elements of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and recognizes the Games as an important vehicle to promote Indigenous sport development and recreation in Canada.
“The 2017 North American Indigenous Games Host Society is assembling a team of skilled and passionate employees to collaborate with our Indigenous communities in order to host a world-class sport and cultural event. 2017 NAIG has the opportunity to build a legacy for Indigenous youth by creating a memorable experience during these Games. With the support of all levels of government, corporate partners and thousands of volunteers, we will change lives through the power of sport and culture.”
-Marcia Trudeau, Chief Executive Officer, 2017 North American Indigenous Games Host Society
“Ontario is proud to host the 2017 North American Indigenous Games and welcome athletes and participants from across the continent to our province. We’re excited to take advantage of the exceptional sports facilities that are a lasting legacy of the Toronto 2015 Pan and Parapan Am Games as we host this unique event.”
-Honourable Eleanor McMahon, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, Government of Ontario
“Next summer, the 2017 North American Indigenous Games will make an important contribution to the year-long celebration across Canada recognizing the 150th anniversary of Confederation by honouring the power of sport in our communities. These revered Games will have a long-lasting impact on Canada’s Indigenous athletes, coaches, officials and sport leaders while building bridges with non-Indigenous Canadians who share the same love of sport. Sport and recreation activities have tremendous benefits both on and beyond the field of play, and one year from now we will cheer for Indigenous people from coast to coast to coast.”
-Honorable Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, Government of Canada
“Sport and culture bring people together and promote physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health – a foundation for strong communities. The 2017 North American Indigenous Games present a unique opportunity to celebrate Indigenous athletes and the resilience, skill and limitless potential of Indigenous youth throughout the continent. This sporting event also supports the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to ensure long-term Indigenous athlete development and growth. I am delighted that these Games will be hosted in Toronto, and that Canada and Ontario are strong supporters of this event.”
– The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, M.D., P.C., M.P., Government of Canada
“The City of Toronto is looking forward to welcoming the 2017 North American Indigenous Games. Sport has the unique power to change lives. These Games celebrate sport and culture while creating amazing opportunities for Indigenous people. As Mayor of Toronto, I couldn’t be more excited to be part of what the Indigenous Games are building.”
-Mayor John Tory, City of Toronto
For further information, please contact:
Manager, Communications, Toronto 2017 NAIG Host Committee
ABOUT NORTH AMERICAN INDIGENOUS GAMES
The North American Indigenous Games is a multi-sport, multi-disciplinary event involving Indigenous youth from Canada and the United States. The Games offer 14 sport competitions in addition to a vibrant cultural program, showcasing local and North American indigenous cultural groups and entertainers. For more information, visit http://www.naigcouncil.com.
The Aboriginal Sport & Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) is the Provincial Territorial Aboriginal Sport Body (PTASB) for Ontario and provides input and services around the North American Indigenous Games, National Aboriginal Hockey Championships and many other regional games throughout Ontario and Canada. ASWCO promotes healthy living and offers training, certifications and support for coaches, athletes and other organizations in each of the 6 regions: Northwest, North Central, Northeast, Central, Southeast and Southwest Ontario. For more information, visit http://aswco.ca.
ABOUT NAIG COUNCIL
The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Council is the International Governing Body for the NAIG exercising exclusive jurisdiction, either directly or through its affiliate members or committees, over all matters pertaining to the Games. It ensures the purposes and philosophies are reflected in all aspects of the games. The Council is also the principle authority for policy development, rules and regulations for the North American Indigenous Games. For more information, visit http://www.naigcouncil.com/about.php.