Artists score points at North American Indigenous Games

The North American Indigenous Games is an athletic event, but art has also become an important part of the event. Jason Baerg, a visual artist from Ontario, is one of six mentors in Regina this week, working with 26 emerging artists at the games.

Emerging young artists getting ready to participate in closing ceremonies at NAIG

Culture a big part of Indigenous Games

8 years ago
Duration 1:51
The North American Indigenous Games includes a major cultural component, Geraldine Carriere reports. 1:51

The North American Indigenous Games is an athletic event, but art has also become an important part of the event.

Jason Baerg is one of six mentors working with 26 emerging artists at the games. The participants are delving into dance, visual arts, carving, performance and design.

“I really believe the foundation of a people is their culture,” said Baerg, “When we talk about culture we talk about their games, it's their food, it's their language, it's their art."

Baerg, a Cree Métis ​visual artist from Ontario,​ is helping participants get ready for a once-in-a-lifetime performance -- the closing ceremonies. He hopes the experience will inspire young creators.

Michael Mills, from Colorado, competed as an athlete in a previous NAIG. This year he is participating as an artist. (CBC)
The last time 
Mikey Mills was at the games, he was there as an athlete. But now he's here as an artist.

“It’s really really  different being an artist, you come together and collaborate with them, you share stories,” said the 18-year-old. "And you really respect them, you know, and you understand that we are all the same people.”

“I like my culture and traditions,” said Katrina Stewart, a beader from Fort McPherson, N.W.T. “I wouldn’t mind going to learn some more, I love the college here.”

Baerg says his team is working hard to make the closing ceremonies special. And he hopes this arts program makes people proud.

“When i think about the arts we are there to honour the athletes as well, to cheer them on, to acknowledge the great work that they've done, so we all need each other and it’s a really important aspect of the games," he said.

The artists will perform in the closing ceremonies on Saturday.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?