North American Indigenous Games medal unveiled
2017 Host Society marks 30 days until opening ceremonies
Organizers of the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) unveiled the 2017 medal during a ceremony in Toronto on Friday.
The Games, which run through July 16-23, feature more than 5,000 teenage competitors who will represent their communities in 14 sports, including archery, wrestling and lacrosse at the 10th NAIG event in Toronto.
Held in Enoch, Alta. in 1971, the first iteration of the Games pushed for the improvement of Indigenous life through community involvement, inclusion and equal participation.
This will be the first NAIG event in Ontario, held on the traditional lands of the Mississaugas, Six Nations, Huron-Wendat and Métis nations.
Elder Garry Sault of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation sang to open the unveiling.
Sault was followed by Kier Johnston, a competitive paddler who's been canoeing and kayaking since childhood.
"The first time my parents had me in a canoe I was five months old," he told CBC Toronto.
Johnston, 25, first competed in the Games when he was just 13, and spoke to the crowd about his experience.
Johnston won six medals that year, he told CBC Toronto. "I still remember jumping up and down on the podiums," he recalled.
"Walking in the arena with 8,000 other athletes—it was just amazing."
CEO Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry congratulated NAIG organizers for pulling the week-long event together despite only having a year to plan.
"We wouldn't be where we're at without the team that we've got," she said.
NAIG will be presenting athletes with over 2,000 medals this July.
With files from CBC News