Hamilton a key location for sports, cultural festival for North American Indigenous Games
The games open on Sunday with some high profile sports happening in the area
Toronto is hosting the 2017 North American Indigenous Games starting Sunday, and as with the 2015 Pan Am Games, Hamilton will be home to plenty of the action.
Four sports in the Games will be hosted in the Hamilton area next week.
More than 5,000 young Indigenous athletes will arrive in Toronto for opening ceremonies on July 16. The games run until the end of the week, and Hamilton residents can check out soccer, canoeing/kayaking, lacrosse, or archery nearby.
Hamilton will also also host a week-long cultural festival at McMaster University highlighting Indigenous heritage, achievements and culture.
"This is a great opportunity for people in Hamilton to come learn about Indigenous people and culture," said Marcia Trudeau, CEO of the North American Indigenous Games.
The Games aren't just a sporting event, she says, but a massive cultural celebration. It's also a platform for the development of young Indigenous athletes.
"It gives these athletes a spotlight they wouldn't get anywhere else", she said. "And we're excited to provide world-class venues for them."
The Games will be played on traditional lands and homelands of the Huron-Wendat Nation, Metis Nation of Ontario, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, and Six Nations.
Six Nations, about half an hour south of Hamilton, will host the lacrosse portion of the Games. They'll also host nightly cultural events and their own opening ceremony featuring local Indigenous talent. Their opening ceremony will take place Monday July 17th at 7 p.m.
The community is inviting people from all over to come visit, says Ava Hill, Chief of Six Nations.
"We're so happy to host this. I'm so proud of our community and like to showcase it as much as we can."
Hill says Six Nations has a deep connection to the game of lacrosse and is excited to be hosting games every night next week.
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 year's athletes call themselves Team 88 -- inspired by the 88th call to action in the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission report: fund the development of young Indigenous athletes.
Hamilton-area venues for the 2017 North American Indigenous Games include:
- Soccer competitions
1280 Main St. W
Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8
- Canoe & Kayak competitions
Welland International Flatwater Centre (WIFC)
16 Townline Tunnel Rd.,
Welland, ON L3C 2T4
- The Box Lacrosse competitions
Gaylord Powless Arena
1738 Fourth Line,
Ohsweken, ON N0A 1M0
Harry Howell Arena
27 Hamilton Regional Rd. 5,
Hamilton, ON L0R 2H0
Iroquois Lacrosse Arena
3201 Second Line,
Hagersville, ON N0A 1H0
- 3-D Archery competitions
Hamilton Angling & Hunting Association
1317 Alberton Road
Hamilton, ON L9G 4X2