Nova Scotia to host North American Indigenous Games in 2023

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The games will bring thousands of athletes to Nova Scotia in the summer of 2023.  (Courtesy of North American Indigenous Games - image credit)
The games will bring thousands of athletes to Nova Scotia in the summer of 2023. (Courtesy of North American Indigenous Games - image credit)

The North American Indigenous Games are coming to Nova Scotia in 2023, with events held in Halifax and Millbrook First Nation from July 15 to 23.

Fiona Kirkpatrick-Parsons is chair of the host society for the 2023 games.

"The games will be the largest multi-sport and cultural event ever held in Kjipuktuk," she told CBC's Information Morning, using the Mi'kmaw name for the Halifax area.

It will be the first time the event has been held in Atlantic Canada. They were originally scheduled for 2020, but COVID-19 scrapped those plans.

Announcing it two years ahead of time gives them the opportunity to prepare, Kirkpatrick-Parsons said, noting they are more than ready. She said with the help of the provincial and federal government, all the funding is covered.

The nine-day event is expected to have over 5,000 participants from over 750 Indigenous nations across Turtle Island, or North America. All of the participants are aged 13 to 19.

There will be 16 sports across 20 venues spanning the Halifax Regional Municipality and Millbrook First Nation.

The sports range from traditional Indigenous ones like lacrosse, canoeing and kayaking, to things like athletics, baseball and basketball.

Millbrook will host 3D archery, which takes the traditional sport and places it in nature, with athletes shooting at three-dimensional targets, rather than flat ones.

Culture and sport

Kirkpatrick-Parsons said the 2023 games will honour those harmed by residential schools and the children who died at them. She said the games give participants "something positive to focus on and to celebrate young people and their futures."

Kirkpatrick-Parsons said culture and sport come tied together for Indigenous people.

"The cultural aspects are really baked into the sports themselves," she said. "There will always be ceremony and culture associated with everything that we do."

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