Looking ahead to the North American Indigenous Games 2023

Four Indigenous Dancers, wearing Indigenous costumes, dance on stage.
The Ko’jua Dancers, from left, J.J. Denny, Evan Googoo, Gabrielle Young and Natashia Herney, give a demonstration of the dance at the North American Indigenous Games 2023 one-year countdown celebration in Halifax. (Greg Guy / CBC)

The countdown is on. The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) 2023 are one year away.

Organizers are excited to stage sporting events within 21 venues across Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Dartmouth and Millbrook First Nation next summer from July 15-23, 2023.

On Friday, the NAIG Host Society celebrated a day of Indigenous culture and music to mark the one-year countdown to the Games, at the Halifax Jazz Festival tent on the waterfront. It was a chance for the organizing committee to kick off their recruitment for 3,000 Games volunteers.

Man reading at a podium.
Chief Norman Bernard of Wagmatcook says they are ready to welcome participants to the 10th North American Indigenous Games in Nova Scotia next summer. (Greg Guy/CBC)

“This marks the first time the Games have been hosted in Mi’kma’ki,” said Chief Norman Bernard of Wagmatcook and president of the Mi’kmaq Sport Council. “We’re honoured to host and look forward to sharing our Mi’kmaq culture with the rest of Turtle Island (North America).

The Games were originally scheduled for 2020, but COVID-19 scrapped those plans. The Mi’kmaq Sport Council was awarded the hosting rights of the Games in May 2018.

North American Indigenous Games poster at the edge of the stage while two musicians perform.
Morgan Toney and Keith Mullins were part of the one-year countdown celebration of NAIG 2023. (Greg Guy / CBC)

NAIG will have athletes competing in 16 different sports with three traditional Indigenous sports including Canoe/Kayak, Lacrosse, and Archery. The three traditional sports will have a special opening ceremony to begin each event.

More than 5,000 athletes, coaches and team staff from 750 Indigenous Nations are expected to be here for the event.

“These Games are for everyone,” said Fiona Kirkpatrick Parsons, NAIG 2023 Board Chair. “They will leave a legacy that will remain long past 2023 and we are deeply thankful to our partners, who are joining us in our efforts to ensure these Games will be the best ones yet.”

These Games are for everyone. They will leave a legacy that will remain long past 2023.– Fiona Kirkpatrick Parsons, NAIG 2023 Board Chair

The countdown celebration included song and dance with performances by two-time East Coast Music Award winner Morgan Toney with Keith Mullins, and a lively Ko’jua dance demonstration led by Eskasoni Elder Beverly Jeddore, with dancers Gabrielle Young, Natashia Herney, Evan Googoo and J.J. Denny.  Alan Syliboy and the Thundermakers performed after as part of the Halifax Jazz Festival.

Man playing the fiddle and man playing guitar.
Fiddler Morgan Toney and guitarist Keith Mullins perform on the Halifax Jazz Festival stage on the Halifax waterfront during a celebration marking one year until NAIG 2023 begins. (Greg Guy / CBC)

Interview with NAIG 2023 Board Chair
– Fiona Kirkpatrick Parsons

Information Morning – NS2:54One Year Until The NAIG

It’s one year till the beginning of the North American Indigenous Games in Halifax. The CBC’s Carsten Knox speaks to Games organizer Fiona Kirkpatrick Parsons.

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