North American Indigenous Games calls for volunteers

Organizers call for volunteers needed for North American Indigenous Games 2020 to be held in Halifax, July 12-18.

Multi-sport games and cultural celebration in Nova Scotia from July 12-18

Tehya Milliea of Millbrook First Nation dances to the beat of the Iron Tide Singers' drum circle at the NAIG 2020 volunteer launch at Halifax City Hall on Feb. 21. (Greg Guy / CBC)
Organizers of the North American Indigenous Games 2020 (NAIG 2020) have officially put out a call for volunteers.

More than 3,000 volunteers are needed for the Games, to be held from July 12 to 18, with events in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Millbrook First Nation and Aldershot, Nova Scotia.

NAIG 2020 - the largest multi-sport and cultural event to come to Atlantic Canada - will welcome more than 5,200 athletes, coaches and team staff from 756 Indigenous nations. They will take part in cultural celebrations and compete in 16 sports across 21 venues.

Courtney Gilfoy, volunteer manager of the Games, said more than 500 volunteers have already signed up. Volunteer leaders and chairpersons of each committee have stepped forward for a wide range of roles such as logistics, transportation and accreditations. They are now looking forward to completing their volunteer needs.

For a complete list of volunteer descriptions and to become a volunteer visit:

Lyndon Red Bear, of Elsipogtog, N.B., dances at the NAIG 2020 volunteer launch in Halifax. (Greg Guy / CBC)
Guests at the volunteer launch at Halifax City Hall on Feb. 21 got a glimpse of Mi'kmaq culture with performances by the Iron Tide Singers and Drummers from Millbrook First Nation, led by Garrett Gloade, and colourful Indigenous dancers Tehya Milliea, Jaici Syliboy and Lyndon Red Bear.

NAIG 2020 Ambassador Savvy Simon, left, joins Elder Jane Abram of the Millbrook First Nation at the volunteer launch of the Games in Halifax on Feb. 21. (Greg Guy / CBC)
Neil Stephen, marketing and communications volunteer chair, said he "had to Google to find out what NAIG was" and when he learned more about it he had to be involved.

"We have a well-earned reputation in this province for rolling out the red carpet," Stephen said. "In Nova Scotia, we are used to family coming and going, and welcoming people is what we do here. Volunteering at this event will provide an opportunity to change lives."

Some of the first to answer the call for volunteers were the Halifax Professional Firefighters. 

Firefighter Brendan Meagher said his members were approached by the organizers to see if they could make a contribution. 

"Our members have so much energy and talent that they could give. We wanted to display a spirit of inclusion from Halifax firefighters," he said at the event.

"There is an opportunity to celebrate Indigenous culture and to celebrate Halifax. It shows that our firefighters welcome diversity."

Halifax-based Games Ambassador Savvy Simon, who competed in two previous North American Indigenous Games, said the province is going "to feel some of the biggest warmth it's ever felt in its history."

She is hoping people from all walks of life, especially immigrants and Indigenous people who live in the city, and who are not on a reserve, will volunteer at the Games.

"We get to welcome all of these beautiful people that are coming," she said.

CBC is media partner of NAIG 2020. 

Indigenous dancers Tehya Milliea and Jaici Syliboy get set to perform at a volunteer launch of the North American Indigenous Games at Halifax City Hall. (Greg Guy / CBC)