The first North American Indigenous Games were held in Edmonton in 1990. Since then, there’s been six other games held at various locations in North American. July 20-27, Regina is hosting the competition.
You can read more on the NAIG here. In a nutshell, what it involves is Regina will be hosting athletes and teams from 26 regions of North America representing different indigenous communities. Competition was originally going to be in 16 sports, but boxing got dropped because of a lack of registrations in the various weight categories. Swimming was also dropped due to a lack of certified swim officials to certify the event.
Sports that are being staged include some with ties to traditional indigenous culture such as archery, canoeing, kayaking and lacrosse, along with other sports like golf, basketball, volleyball and baseball that have historical roots outside of the indigenous community.
In addition to the athletic competitions there’s a cultural component to the 2014 NAIG as well that will showcase traditional and contemporary indigenous artists. Musician Ramses Calderon, performance artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle, theatre artist Earl Kinistino, visual artist Jason Baerg and sculptor Lyndon Tootoosis are some of the artists participating. In the lead up to the games there’s been a lance run through the province that recalls the torch run that precedes the Summer and Winter Olympics. And the games themselves will kick-off with an opening ceremony at Mosaic Stadium on July 20 at 2 p.m. that will include entertainment by George Leach, Crystal Shawanda and Saskatchewan Native Theatre Company.
There’s also a cultural village at First Nations University that will feature live music throughout the week from a range of performers including Don Amero, the Dead South Leela Gilday, Amanda Rheume, Eekwol and more. The closing ceremonies will also be held there on Saturday July 26 starting at 7 p.m. A Tribe Called Red are one of the acts scheduled to perform that night.
To close, here’s a video for Crystal Shawanda’s 2013 song “Not Without A Fight”: