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The North American Indigenous Games is a multi-sport event involving indigenous North American athletes staged intermittently since 1990. The games are governed by the North American Indigenous Games Council, a 26-member council of representatives from 13 provinces and territories in Canada and 13 regions in the United States.

History

In 1971, the Native Summer Games held in Enoch, Alberta, Canada drew 3,000 participants competing in 13 sports and many cultural events.

In 1973, the Western Canada Native Winter Games were held on the Blood Reserve in Kainai, Alberta, Canada.

In 1975, a meeting of the National Indian Athletic Association was held in Reno, Nevada, where it was decided to organize games for indigenous peoples. John Fletcher, a Peigan from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, and Willie Littlechild, a Cree of the Ermineskin Tribe at Hobbema, Alberta, Canada, attended; John Fletcher is credited for his support towards having the games, as presented by Mr. Littlechild.[citation needed]

In 1977, the idea to host large-scale indigenous games took another step forward in Sweden at the Annual Assembly of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. Willie Littlechild presented the motion to host international indigenous games. It was unanimously passed. A Brazilian elder was reportedly so moved by this that he presented Willie Littlechild with a war arrow representing peace in his tribe. Advising it be pointed to the ground, this arrow would direct anything evil toward the underground. It is now part of the sacred ceremonial run.[citation needed]

The goal of the games was to improve the quality of life for indigenous peoples by supporting self-determined sports and cultural activities.

Former Chairperson Charles Wood stated "The vision of the NAIG, from the very beginning, along with my brothers, Willie Littlechild of Ermineskin First Nation at Hobbema, and Big John Fletcher of Peigan in Southern Alberta, was one of our interest and concern about what was happening among the young people in all of our communities. . . We took it upon ourselves to try and find something constructive for the young people to look forward to. And, what it was eventually, was that we would put together a plan for a Games through which the young Aboriginal people could come together to excel in their athletic field of endeavour and to come together to do other things: to make new friendships, to renew old ones, and so on..."

The first North American Indigenous Games (or "NAIG") were held in 1990 in Edmonton, Alberta, followed by Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, in 1993, Blaine, Minnesota, in 1995, Victoria, British Columbia, in 1997, Winnipeg, Manitoba, in 2002, Denver, Colorado, in 2006 and Cowichan, British Columbia, in 2008. The 2011 games were to be held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but about a year before the games were to be held, Milwaukee withdrew its host application due to the lack of financial backers. Other arrangements, however, were made, and games were indeed held in Milwaukee in July 2011 on a smaller scale (dubbed the United States Indigenous Games). The 2014 games took place in Regina, Saskatchewan followed by the 2017 games in Toronto, Ontario.

In the 2006 games, 10,000 athletes from the United States and Canada took part with more than 1,000 tribes represented. In addition to sporting events, the games included a parade and a variety of cultural performances. The opening ceremonies were held at Invesco Field at Mile High and the closing ceremonies were held at Skyline Park.

Approximately 5,000 athletes from the United States and Canada took part in the 2014 games, in Regina, Saskatchewan, (July 20–27, 2014) with more than 756 tribes represented. In addition to sporting events, the games included a large cultural village at the First Nations University of Canada and a variety of cultural performances throughout the host city. The opening ceremonies were held at Mosaic Stadium at Taylor Field and the closing ceremonies were held at the First Nations University of Canada campus. A large and violent storm went through the cultural village on July 24, nearly destroying everything except for the tipis. Later, over 300 volunteers worked through the night to clean it up in time for the following days activities.[citation needed]

Editions

Edition Year Host Location Notes Results Overall winner
I 1990  Canada Edmonton, Alberta First NAIG, 3,000 participants in 15 sports 37 cultural groups and ceremonial run Saskatchewan Team Saskatchewan
II 1993  Canada Prince Albert, Saskatchewan 4,400 participants in 15 sports Traditional powwow Saskatchewan Team Saskatchewan
III 1995  United States Blaine, Minnesota 8,500 participants in 17 sports 2,500 cultural performers Saskatchewan Team Saskatchewan
IV 1997  Canada Victoria, British Columbia 5,000 participants in 16 sports 3,000 cultural participants Saskatchewan Team Saskatchewan
V 2002  Canada Winnipeg, Manitoba 6,500 participants in 16 sports 3,000 cultural participants Manitoba Team Manitoba
VI 2006  United States Denver, Colorado 10,000 participants in 16 sports Saskatchewan Team Saskatchewan
VII 2008  Canada Cowichan, British Columbia 4,700 participants in 14 sports 300 artists, 2000 tribal journey participants, spirit pole Saskatchewan Team Saskatchewan
VIII 2011  United States Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2011 NAIG were cancelled. The Milwaukee host society withdrew their involvement as host for 2011 NAIG in June 2010. They resumed instead with hosting the "inaugural U.S. Indigenous Games" N/A (Game was cancelled)
IX 2014  Canada Regina, Saskatchewan 5,000 participants in 15 sports traditional indigenous activities, cultural village, lance run British Columbia Team British Columbia
X 2017  Canada Toronto, Ontario June 26, 2015 - The NAIG Council awarded the 2017 NAIG to Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The bid to host the games in Toronto, led by the Aboriginal Sport & Wellness Council of Ontario and the Mississaugas of New Credit First Nation, received unanimous support from the NAIG’s International Governing Body. The games were held on July 16–23, 2017.[NB 1] British Columbia Team British Columbia
XI 2023  Canada Halifax, Nova Scotia The games were orginally scheduled to be held in 2020 but had to be rescheduled for July 2023 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.[1] Ontario Team Ontario
XII 2027  Canada Calgary, Alberta[2]

Sports

Gold, silver, and bronze medals were awarded in sixteen sports:

Total medals

Team № games 1st place, gold medalist(s) 2nd place, silver medalist(s) 3rd place, bronze medalist(s) Total[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10]
 Saskatchewan 8 708 713 473 1894
 Alberta 8 356 366 385 1056
 Manitoba 8 292 303 254 849
 British Columbia 8 331 229 211 772
 Ontario 8 281 239 204 724
Eastern Door and North 6 175 120 118 410
 Yukon 8 90 103 101 294
 Northwest Territories 8 54 67 90 209
 Washington 8 84 50 45 179
 New Mexico 4 59 50 45 154
 Wisconsin 6 55 47 48 150
Iroquois New York 7 50 49 47 147
 North Dakota 5 57 36 21 114
 Colorado 6 39 34 28 103
 Arizona 5 40 23 22 88
 Nova Scotia 4 18 23 41 82
 Minnesota 5 30 27 18 75
 Oklahoma 3 33 22 17 72
 Connecticut 6 33 17 22 72
 New Brunswick 6 27 14 26 67
 Newfoundland and Labrador 2 15 17 20 52
 South Dakota 5 20 16 13 49
 Quebec 2 22 12 7 41
Florida Florida 6 8 8 13 29
 Maine 3 7 8 12 27
 Oregon 4 11 12 3 26
 Nunavut 4 10 13 4 26
 Michigan 4 9 7 9 25
 Iowa 4 9 8 1 18
 Idaho 1 9 5 3 17
 California 4 6 6 4 16
 Montana 4 9 3 1 13
 Prince Edward Island 3 3 3 2 8
 Utah 2 1 1 2 4
 North Carolina 3 2 1 0 3
 Mississippi 2 2 0 1 3
 Kansas 1 0 2 1 3
Georgia (U.S. state) Georgia 1 1 1 0 2
 Nebraska 1 0 1 1 2
Canada Maritimes 1 0 0 0 1

Notes

  1. ^ Canada was also hosting the 2017 edition of the World Indigenous Peoples' Games

References

  1. ^ Laskaris, Sam (January 16, 2019). "NAIG host society appoints CEO for 2020 Halifax competition". Anishinabek News. Retrieved May 2, 2019.
  2. ^ Gilligan, Melissa (July 21, 2023). "2027 North American Indigenous Games to be held in Calgary". CTV News. Retrieved October 19, 2023.
  3. ^ 2014 NAIG Medal Standings
  4. ^ 2008 NAIG Medal Standings
  5. ^ 2006 NAIG Medal Standings
  6. ^ 2002 NAIG Medal Standings
  7. ^ 1997 NAIG Medal Standings
  8. ^ 1995 NAIG Medal Standings
  9. ^ 1993 NAIG Medal Standings
  10. ^ 1990 NAIG Medal Standings

See also