What is NAIG?
"The dream to hold Games for the Indigenous Peoples began in the 1970's.
- In 1971, the Native Summer Games held in Enoch, Alberta 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.
- 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, and Willie Littlechild, a Cree of the Ermineskin Tribe at Hobbema, Alberta, attended; John Fletcher is credited for his support in the decision to have the Games, as presented by Mr. Littlechild, based on the above success.
- In 1977, the dream 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 so moved, 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." - North American Indigenous Games Council
NAIG 2020 was to be held in Halifax Nova Scotia July 12-18, but has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is the NAIG Council's March 27, 2020 statement:
The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Council and NAIG 2020 Host Society are announcing to all our athletes, funders, partners and friends that the Games, scheduled to be held July 12 - 18 in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Aldershot and Millbrook, have been postponed due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19. During the coming weeks, NAIG Council and the NAIG 2020 team, along with funders and partners, will be exploring options around the postponement.
"The collective goal for all of us at this time is to keep everyone safe and healthy," says Tex Marshall, President of NAIG 2020. "To abide by the recommendations and guidance of the Nova Scotia government and its healthcare professionals is critical to slowing and eliminating this pandemic, even if it means the delay of something amazing. We at NAIG 2020 are proud of Nova Scotia's remarkable and unfaltering efforts during this crisis."
The North American Indigenous Games have always been about young athletes, and the opportunity and the change sport and culture can bring to their lives. While there will be much planning ahead, it is our intention to work towards the full experience for these young athletes, in Kjipuktuk (Halifax). Plans include exploring special concessions to ensure that athletes eligible to compete at the Halifax 2020 NAIG remain eligible to participate in the rescheduled Games.
Says Dale Plett, President of the Council, "The magic of the Games, even before they happened, had already begun to reverberate throughout the beautiful city of Halifax. The focus now is for NAIG Council to work with the Host Society, NAIG funding partners and other key stakeholders to deliver the Games, in Halifax, in 2021. Until then, let's hold onto the idea of celebration and join together, then-Indigenous and others-next summer."
For future information on NAIG, visit ISPARC's page on Team BC and Performance Sport Programs.