By TRT Staff with notes from ISWO.ca
ALGONQUIN TERRITORY – On August, 18, the Indigenous sport and Wellness Ontario, organizers for the 2023 MIG and in partnership with the City of Ottawa and Ottawa Tourism, offered a welcome to athletes and their families from around the world, to share and celebrate Indigenous cultures, sports and traditions.
The difficult decision to postpone the previously scheduled Masters Indigenous Games (MIG) due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has opened for the 2023 MIG to take place on the traditional territory and unceded homelands of the Algonquin, who have inhabited the Ottawa region and surrounding lands from time immemorial.
From August 17 to 23, the 2023 MIG will create opportunities for Indigenous adults to get physically active, engage in community and compete against their peers in various contemporary and traditional sporting activities. With more than 1,500 Indigenous athletes expected to attend, competing in 10 sport categories, and a cultural festival open to the public, the event will inspire and engage participants and spectators alike.
“The Masters Indigenous Games creates competitive sport opportunities for Indigenous athletes with the goal of more active, healthy lives, and stronger communities,” says Marc Laliberte, President of Indigenous Sport and Wellness Ontario (ISWO). “After postponing the 2021 Games because of the COVID-19 pandemic, athletes are looking forward to being active and connecting with their peers in a fun and culturally rich environment. The Masters Indigenous Games provides a next step in the Indigenous sport pathway and showcases sport as a lifelong pursuit. Sport is healing, and it’s truly powerful medicine. Whether you’re eight or 80, sport and healthy competition gives one a good feeling, and provides opportunities to connect with others and experience new things.”
Hosted and developed by Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (the designated Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Body for Ontario), the Masters Indigenous Games provides Indigenous adults aged 20 years and older the opportunity to compete against their peers in a variety of sporting activities, including basketball, lacrosse, athletics, canoeing and more. Not only is the MIG an opportunity for Indigenous athletes to compete, but the Games also present an opportunity for North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) alums to reunite with past teammates, competitors, and friends.
Before the development of the MIG, the only international competitive opportunity for Indigenous Peoples was provided through the NAIG, which is now restricted to youth ages 13 to 19. The MIG seeks to fill the gap with support for lifelong physical activity and opportunity for increased participation in sport, within a cultural framework that celebrates the rich history and unique diversity of Indigenous Peoples.
The Masters Indigenous Games were founded by Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (ISWO) to meet the growing need for competitive sport for the aging population. The Games encourage mature individuals to be active, with the awareness that competitive sport can continue throughout life, contributing to increased health and wellness. The inaugural MIG took place in Toronto, Ontario from July 12-15, 2018, providing an opportunity for Indigenous adults worldwide to engage in sport competition with their peers.