Edmonton·Video

World Indigenous Nations Games open with ceremonies in Maskwacis

The World Indigenous Nations (WIN) Games are officially underway with athletes from around the globe converging on Maskwacis, south of Edmonton, Monday night.

'It's time to recognize that moment in history that you're creating,' says organizer

The World Indigenous Nations (WIN) Games are officially underway with athletes from around the globe converging on Maskwacis, south of Edmonton, Monday night. 1:53

The World Indigenous Nations (WIN) Games are officially underway with athletes from around the globe converging on Maskwacis, south of Edmonton, Monday night.

"What is happening here is a very beautiful thing where all the communities are visiting and working together and celebrating their identity," said Chief Tony Alexis of the Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, northwest of Edmonton.

Athletes and delegates from 29 countries were expected to take part in the event's opening ceremonies Monday night.
Fans gather in Bear Park as athletes and delegates from 29 countries were expected to take part in the event’s opening ceremonies Monday night. (CBC)

While sporting events like soccer, basketball, lacrosse and spear throwing run until July 9, the WIN Games are as much about coming together as they are about competition.

"There's a lot of healing that's happening in our communities. And most of this work has to come from us as Indigenous people," Alexis said. "We look after one another, it's always been like that. For a long time we felt like outsiders have to come heal us, and that's not true." 

The WIN Games are as much about coming together as they are about competition. (CBC)

Games organizer Cara Currie Hall said it has been a "very long road" to get to the opening ceremonies, but the hard work will pay off for participants and spectators.

"The Games are for the world to know that Indigenous people have always been here for thousands and thousands of years," Currie Hall said.

"It's time to recognize that moment in history that you're creating, that you're a part of, and to really usher us into the next moment."
Competitors gather at Bear Park in Maskwacis, Alta. before Monday's opening ceremonies. (CBC)