Ontario is partnering with the federal government to support the Games, with each providing $3.5 million to help bring this multi-sport competition for Indigenous youth to the province next summer.
The Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) will host the Games from July 16-23 in Toronto, on the shared traditional territories of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, the Huron-Wendat Nation and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy and with the support of the Métis Nation of Ontario.
Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport, said: “Ontario is excited to host the 2017 North American Indigenous Games and welcome athletes and participants from throughout North America to our province. Ontarians are looking forward to cheering on the members of Team Ontario as they strive for excellence. We’re especially pleased that these Games will benefit from the knowledge and outstanding sports facilities that are a lasting legacy of the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. This event will be an exceptional experience that’s good for our youth, for sport, our communities and our economy.”
Ontario’s support builds on the province’s $3.3 million commitment to the Sport Pathway for Ontario Native Wellness initiative, developed in collaboration with the ASWCO. A priority under Game ON – the Ontario Government’s Sport Plan, the Sport Pathway initiative provides new opportunities for Indigenous youth to participate in sport at all levels.
Supporting Indigenous culture and athletics, is one of many steps on Ontario’s journey of healing and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. It reflects the government’s commitment to work with Indigenous partners, creating a better future for everyone in the province.
David Zimmer, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, said: “The Games are a great opportunity for the people of Ontario and visitors from around the world to learn more about the accomplishments of Indigenous athletes and to highlight the contributions Indigenous communities have made to our shared history. We are grateful for the work of the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario and Indigenous communities and organizations that will help make this event a success. We look forward to watching Ontario’s Indigenous youth compete in this exciting showcase.”
- The Games provide Indigenous youth, aged 13-19, an opportunity to showcase their heritage through 14 sports and cultural events.
- At the 2014 NAIG in Regina, Saskatchewan, Team Ontario placed third.
- One of the new programs under the Sport Pathway initiative is the 2016 Ontario Aboriginal Summer Games being co-hosted by the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario and Six Nations of the Grand River. The Summer Games will be the first qualifying event for the 2017 NAIG.
- Indigenous youth are among the fastest growing population groups in Ontario, with 34 per cent of Indigenous people in Ontario being under the age of 20.
- Since 2003, Ontario has invested over $27.5 million for sport, recreation and community based initiatives benefiting Indigenous peoples.
- Since 2009, Ontario has reached more than 4,500 young people through Right to Play and the Promoting Life Skills in Aboriginal Youth (PLAY) initiative, which aims to support youth as catalysts for change in their communities.