Funding will support Indigenous youth participation and help celebrate Mi’kmaw and other Indigenous cultures
SIPEKNE’KATIK FIRST NATION, NS, Traditional and ancestral Mi’kmaw Territory, June 30, 2023 /CNW/ – Sport has the remarkable power to bring people together. It rallies and unites us behind our athletes and teams, fosters greater inclusion, and helps build strong communities. It also teaches our youth skills and habits that will serve them for life. The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) embodies these benefits for Indigenous youth.
Today, Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament (Sydney–Victoria), on behalf of the Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, and the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), highlighted Government of Canada funding of more than $9 million to support the 2023 North American Indigenous Games in Kjipuktuk (Halifax).
A total of $8.363 million of the allocated funds come from Canadian Heritage’s Sport Canada Hosting Program, while ACOA made a $700,000 non-repayable contribution.
NAIG plays an important role in the development of Indigenous young athletes. The Games provide valuable training, competition, and cultural experiences. For the first time, NAIG will be held in Atlantic Canada. From July 15 to 23, the event will also showcase a dynamic and vibrant cultural program, while bringing together Indigenous youth from 756 nations of Canada and the United States. It will truly be a living showcase of Indigenous unity, heritage, youth, and sport.
The support underlines the Government of Canada’s commitment to address the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, most specifically call 88, which calls on all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Indigenous athlete development and growth through continued support of the NAIG.
“Our government is thrilled to support the 2023 North American Indigenous Games! NAIG brings together participants in traditional and mainstream sporting events and allows Indigenous youth to develop and showcase their athletic abilities while celebrating their heritage. Sport and physical activity can inspire Indigenous youth and their communities to flourish and succeed, support the health and well-being of Indigenous youth, strengthen identity and cultural pride, and make a meaningful contribution to reconciliation.”
—The Honourable Pascale St-Onge, Minister of Sport and Minister responsible for the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec
“We recognize the rich contributions of Indigenous Peoples and communities in building a strong, innovative, and inclusive Atlantic Canada. I am so pleased that our government, through ACOA, is supporting the 2023 North American Indigenous Games, which is expected to draw more than 5,000 Indigenous participants from across Canada and the U.S. This event will be a significant driver of economic activity and will leave a legacy of greater cultural understanding for Canadians and deep pride among participating athletes and nations.”
—The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
“The 2023 North American Indigenous Games not only brings together Indigenous youth athletes from hundreds of Nations, but also showcases Indigenous cultures and traditions. Indigenous tourism experiences like the Games provide an important opportunity to learn about the richness of the traditions of Indigenous Peoples, and support strong and resilient Indigenous economies. Good luck to all of the athletes involved!”
—The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Indigenous Services
“Sport is one of the best ways for youth to learn, gain confidence, and connect with others. I am so proud that Nova Scotia will host the North American Indigenous Games and provide thousands of Indigenous youths with these priceless opportunities.”
—Jaime Battiste, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Member of Parliament (Sydney–Victoria)
“The excitement is building as Kjipuktuk (Halifax), as well as Millbrook First Nation and Sipekne’katik First Nation, prepare to host the largest multi-sport and cultural event in Atlantic Canada’s history, since contact. This investment greatly contributes to our vision of delivering a supportive and positive experience for Indigenous youth. We thank the Government of Canada for its support, and for helping our NAIG team make memories that will last a lifetime for those participating in these historic Games.”
—Fiona Kirkpatrick Parsons, Chair, 2023 NAIG Host Society
In addition to today’s announcement:
The Aboriginal Sports Circle (ASC) received $1.5 million to assist participating teams from Canada with increased athlete travel costs.
Through Budget 2017 and Budget 2022, the Indigenous Youth and Sports Supplement to the Provincial/Territorial Bilateral agreements include funding for culturally relevant programming, Provincial / Territorial Aboriginal Sport Bodies support, and NAIG team preparation and travel.
An amount of $100,000 was allocated via the Strategic Partnerships Initiative (SPI) through the Growing Indigenous Tourism in Atlantic Canada Initiative in support of the North American Indigenous Games.
The SPI is a government-wide initiative led by Indigenous Services Canada and helps Indigenous communities participate in complex economic opportunities.
The North American Indigenous Games is one of the largest sporting and cultural gatherings of Indigenous Peoples from across North America. The multi-sport games for youth aged 13 to 19 showcase unity, sport, culture, youth, volunteerism, and teamwork between First Nations, Métis, Inuit, and Non-Indigenous communities.
The first NAIG was held in 1990 in Edmonton, Alberta, with approximately 3,000 participants. The most recent games, NAIG 2017 in Toronto, included approximately 3,900 athletes. The 2020 Games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the 2023 North American Indigenous Games, over 5,000 Indigenous participants from 756 nations across Canada and the United States are expected to attend. Team sizes range from 8 to 500 participants.
The 2023 NAIG sport program will include 16 different sports, including three traditional Indigenous sports: canoe/kayak, lacrosse, and 3D archery.
While most of the Games activities will take place in the Halifax region, the Mi’kmaq communities of Millbrook and Sipekne’katik First Nations will respectively host two sports: 3D archery and softball.
SOURCE Canadian Heritage