Nova Scotia

Medal design unveiled for upcoming North American Indigenous Games

The medal design for the 2023 North American Indigenous Games has officially been unveiled.

Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade says it's important to see local artists' work featured

A gold medal.
One of the gold medals that will be handed out this summer at the 2023 North American Indigenous Games. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

The medal design for the 2023 North American Indigenous Games has officially been unveiled.

The host society revealed the design at an event featuring Indigenous artists and dancers in Millbrook First Nation Tuesday, marking six months before the Games. 

The medals were initially designed by Ella Scothorn, a student from Hardwood Lands, N.S., before being finalized by Mi'kmaw artist Tayla Fern Paul.

"This is really great and it's important to see the local artists' work being done on the medals," said Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade.

"This supports Indigenous artists in the local area, as well as the culture and history of the Mi'kmaw people, which is incorporated into the design."

Four people standing together against a wall.
Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade, left, student Ella Scothorn, Mi'kmaw artist Tayla Fern Paul and George "Tex" Marshall, president of the 2023 North American Indigenous Games host society, are seen with the newly unveiled medals. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Nearly 3,000 gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded during the Games, which will draw more than 5,000 athletes, coaches and team staff to Millbrook First Nation and the Halifax Regional Municipality in July.

More than 100 design submissions were received in an open-design competition.

"The main part of the image is the stars, which was Ella's original design," said Paul. "I expanded it to include a petroglyph of a star traveller which is from here. It's Mi'kmaw."

A gold medal with blue and white stars.
The medals feature stars inspired by Mi'kmaw petroglyphs that were found in Bedford, N.S. They represent the territory where people will gather for the 2023 North American Indigenous Games. (Paul Palmeter/CBC)

Paul said other images were added before the final design came together.

The medal design will mark the second time local Indigenous artists will be showcased at a large sporting event in recent months. 

Four artists put in hundreds of hours of work to design and paint hockey sticks that were presented to each player of the game during the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Halifax and Moncton, N.B., last month.


Paul Palmeter is an award-winning video journalist born and raised in the Annapolis Valley. He has covered news and sports stories across Nova Scotia for 30 years.

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