The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) will take place in Kjipuktuk/Halifax and Millbrook First Nation in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia in July 2023, after being postponed twice due to COVID-19.

More than 5,000 athletes, coaches and team staff from 756 First Nations are set to compete in 16 sports at the 10th NAIG games from July 15 to 23, 2023.

The last NAIG was held in Toronto, Ontario in 2017.

NAIG Council President Shannon Dunfield said although the event is two years away, she is looking forward to the celebration.

“In light of recent events around the continued history of residential schools, we hope that the announcement of NAIG 2023 and the lead-up to the Games will uplift and inspire youth and families across Turtle Island [North America] in a good way, and they can look forward to celebrating their cultures and stories in Kjipuktuk [Halifax],” Dunfield said.

The Canadian Government has already committed CAD$3.81 million to the Games and Nova Scotia has committed CAD$3.5 million.

Both the Federal and Provincial Governments have come together to discuss a new funding agreement which will see the Canadian Government provide an additional up to CAD$4.5 million for incremental costs due to the postponement of the Games and Nova Scotia provide an additional CAD$2.5 million.

The funding will ensure Indigenous youth are able to celebrate both their sport and culture with the funding.

“The North American Indigenous Games play an important role in the development of young Indigenous athletes, coaches and artists by providing them with valuable training, competition and artistic experiences,” said Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Canadian Heritage.

The event is expected to be the largest multi-sport and cultural event ever to be held in Atlantic Canada.

By Teisha Cloos