The North American Indigenous Games Come to YorkU

Posted by Rebecca Denyer on July 13, 2017

Student Life

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York University will be hosting athletes and sport competitions for the North American Indigenous Games from July 16 to 23, 2017. The Games will feature more than 5,000 athletes from across North America as they compete in 14 different sports. In particular, many of the athletics, basketball, and volleyball events will be taking place on the YorkU campus. The North American Indigenous Games spotlight the athletic talents and vibrant culture of North America’s Indigenous Peoples. The competitors range between the ages of 13 and 19.

The North American Indigenous Games were first held in Edmonton, Alberta in 1990 and have been held seven times since. This event marks the first year that the Games have ever been hosted in Ontario, and many of the athletes will be staying (and playing) on the YorkU campus. York University is proud to host approximately 2,000 athletes and their families and we welcome them to our community during this exciting event!

List of sports categories for the 2017 North American Indigenous Games.


Attending the North American Indigenous Games

Admissions to the sports and cultural events are free. The Opening Ceremony will be held at the Aviva Centre by York University. Thousands of spectators are expected to attend. The Opening Ceremony will feature Indigenous musical performances, traditional dances, and a parade of the athletes. The event will feature choreography by Santee Smith along with other First Nations, Inuit, and Metis artists.

The Games will also include a Cultural Festival and Indigenous Marketplace to be held at York University. The Cultural Festival will feature nightly performances from artists including Tanya Tagaq, DJ Shub, and Crystal Shawanda. The Indigenous Marketplace, open from July 17 to 21, is a free event that will feature traditional cuisines, workshops on Indigenous heritage, and crafts by artisans from across Turtle Island. Representatives from YorkU’s own Centre for Aboriginal Student Services will also host a booth, so be sure to visit!


Promo photo for the 2017 North American Indigenous Games.


Learning from the North American Indigenous Games

The North American Indigenous Games website describes their vision: “to improve the quality of life for Indigenous Peoples by supporting self-determined sports and cultural activities which encourage equal access to participation in the social / cultural / spiritual fabric of the community in which they reside and which respects Indigenous distinctiveness.” Hosting the North American Indigenous Games on the York campus is a much-needed step towards reconciliation, as well as recognizing the importance of Indigenous cultures and their presence at YorkU.

Take a look at the North American Indigenous Games website for a schedule of all events!

Tweet us at @YorkUStudents or leave us a comment about what you’re looking forward to seeing at the North American Indigenous Games!

Rebecca Denyer
Rebecca Denyer

Rebecca Denyer is a fourth year Political Science and Communications Studies double-major at York University. She lives on coffee and Broadway soundtracks and is often found strolling the aisles of second-hand bookstores.

See other posts by Rebecca Denyer