Treaty No. 6 Territory, July 10, 2017: “On behalf of the organizers for the World Indigenous Nations (WIN) Games 2017, I would like to thank the Indigenous athletes of the world, coaches and spectators for attending the 2nd WIN Games here in Treaty 6 Territory,” stated Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild. “Over 1600 athletes from around the world came together in Treaty No. Territory for a celebration of sport and traditional Indigenous games during the week of July 2 – 9, 2017, and provided the unique opportunity for Indigenous Peoples to present to the world, their centuries old traditional games, sports and cultures while reinvigorating passion and pride for sport, traditions, and culture in Indigenous Peoples.”
Grand Chief Littlechild continued, “I would also like to express on behalf of myself and organizers, our heartfelt gratitude to the leaders and band members of Samson Cree Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation, Louis Bull Tribe, Montana Band, Enoch Cree Nation, and Alexis Nakota Sioux for opening up their hearts and community to the World Indigenous Nations Games 2017.
“We are very thankful for the support of these Nations. When everyone else said no, the First Nations stepped up and said yes to the healing power of traditional sport, recognizing its long-term impact on the physical, mental, emotional and most importantly the spiritual aspects of our being.
“The spirit of sharing, caring and cooperation was very evident in the Treaty No. 6 First Nations Territory. The First Nations of Enoch and Samson Cree Nation have been hosts for the Athletes Villages. Samson hosted the Opening Ceremonies, which drew an estimated 5000 people, and was also host to the International Indigenous Youth Conference. Ermineskin Cree Nation hosted the Basketball Tournament, Indian Horse Relay and Rodeo this week. Louis Bull Tribe played host to the 10km Men’s and Women’s Foot Races, with the famous Tarahumara runners from Mexico taking first and second. The Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation hosted the exciting Canoe Races, which Panama swept. Many members of Montana Band have also stepped forward in an organizational and volunteer capacity. The City of Wetaskiwin also donated the use of the Manluk Industries field for the soccer tournament. Today, Enoch Cree Nation hosted the Closing Ceremonies.
“The organizers encountered many obstacles but remained committed to ensuring the Games happened. The official planning for the Games in Treaty No. 6 Territory did not come into being until late January of 2017, and focused on coordinating international and national delegations, securing funding, and helping some athletes overcome visa requirements.. The initial plan to have all the athletes and games at one venue fell through just two weeks before the Games were set to begin. Major funding from the Government of Canada was not committed until July 3, 2017, the date of the opening ceremonies. This compelled organizers to reach out to the First Nations communities to take on a major role as hosts and they stepped up with only two weeks to prepare. The move however created another set of logistical issues, which organizers worked hard at addressing.
“The contributions from organizers and volunteers cannot be measured. Along with the athletes they have endured unusually high temperatures, rescheduling of events, and everyone kept long hours to ensure the needs of the athletes were met and venues were ready for competition. There was a lot of work happening behind the scenes once government funding was confirmed.
“The organizers would also like to thank the many other contributors who provided funding and in-kind support. The support from our sponsors was very much appreciated. They believed in what we were setting out to achieve and for that we are extremely grateful.
“Despite adversity, the World Indigenous Nations Games 2017 did what it set out to do, promote peace, diversity and reconciliation and is instilling passion and pride for sport, traditions, and culture in Indigenous Peoples around the world.”
The organization responsible for hosting the World Indigenous Nations (WIN) Games 2017 is WIN Sport International, a recognized non-governmental organization (NGO) with the United Nations (UN). The United Nations (UN) and the Organization of American States (OAS) and international sport organizations have been providing international recognition and promotion of the WIN Games.
Here is a small photo gallery – the photos were provided by World Indigenous Games.