Submitted by TRT Staff from ISWO.ca
OTTAWA – Organizers for the 2022 Ontario Summer Indigenous Games (2022 OSIG), in partnership with the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, the Government of Ontario, City of Ottawa, Ottawa Tourism, and the University of Ottawa, held a launch event for ‘virtual audiences’ on March 15.
The Games are slated to take place this summer from July 28-31, in the nation’s capital on the traditional territories and ancestral homelands of the Algonquin Peoples, who have inhabited the region since time immemorial.
“For thousands of years, the Anishinaabe Algonquin and other Indigenous peoples have played our own sports to teach survival and other life skills, for fun and competition, and the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to Canadian sport are visible today,” said Chief Wendy Jocko, of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation.
“On behalf of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, we want to thank everyone who has participated in preparing for 2022 thus far. Pikwakanagan is honoured to be the Host Nation for the 2022 Ontario Summer Indigenous Games (2022 OSIG), and looks forward to welcoming Ontario athletes, coaches, and their families into our community.”
Featuring an opening from grandmother Kim Wheatley, an exciting lacrosse demonstration from 28 Lacrosse showcasing Vaughn Harris and youth lacrosse player, Brendan Bomberry, the announcement sparked excitement at the prospect for such an incredible Return to Sport. With inspiring remarks from Chief Wendy Jocko of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation; Ontario’s Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism, and Culture Industries, the Honourable Lisa MacLeod; Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism; Mathieu Fleury, Ottawa’s Sport Commissioner; Jill Scott, Provost and Vice-President at the University of Ottawa; and Marc Laliberte, President of Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario, the mood was one of hope, collaboration, and most importantly, of celebration. Celebrating a return to and as well, the power that sport has to bring communities together, facilitate dialogue, inspire generations, create partnerships, and most importantly, to continue on the important journey of truth and reconciliation.
With an announcement of funding in the amount of $250,000 committed from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, the Games will see approximately 500 Indigenous
youth from across every region of Ontario, attend for four days filled with sport competitions, cultural celebrations, fun events and an opportunity to experience all that Ottawa, and its diverse communities, have to offer.
“I am proud our government is supporting the Ontario Summer Indigenous Games. The Games break down barriers for Indigenous youth who want to participate in organized sport, which is part of our work toward reconciliation with Indigenous peoples,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “Sport, physical activity and participation in recreational activities are important contributors to active, healthy and resilient Indigenous communities, and after such a long hiatus, I congratulate the Games’ organizers for delivering this much-anticipated event.”
An opening ceremony will be hosted on the evening of July 28 at the University of Ottawa – which is hosting the Athlete’s Village, medal ceremonies and a closing – providing athletes with accommodations, meals, campus tours and even 3D printing workshops. The University of Ottawa will also be hosting four of the eleven sports on offer, including basketball, soccer, volleyball and wrestling.
“We are very proud to welcome the 2022 Ontario Summer Indigenous Games to the University of Ottawa’s campus, which we acknowledge is seated on unceded Algonquin territory,” said Jill Scott, Provost and Vice-President, Academic Affairs. “This is an exciting opportunity to showcase the next generation of Ontario’s Indigenous athletes and we are excited to work with our partners give an outstanding and enriching experience to all involved.”
The remaining sports will be hosted at world-class city-owned venues, including athletics at the Terry Fox Athletic Facility and lacrosse at the Nepean Sportsplex. For the City of Ottawa, the 2022 OSIG represents much more than just sport; the Games present an opportunity to celebrate the athletic achievements and rich cultural heritage of Indigenous youth and communities from across the province, and from within the Ottawa region, and provide a platform for dialogue and ongoing reconciliation.
“I very much look forward to hosting the 2022 Ontario Summer Indigenous Games in Ottawa, when we will welcome hundreds of young participants to celebrate their wonderful Indigenous culture through sport,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This event is more than a great partnership with our Algonquin communities; it will also be a great boost to Ottawa’s economy, helping us sustain thousands of good jobs in the tourism sector.”
In addition to the support received from the Host Nation, the City of Ottawa, and the Government of Ontario, the generous contributions and enthusiastic excitement from Ottawa Tourism have truly made a tremendous impact. Eager to have sport, cultural events, celebrations and visitors back in the city, Ottawa Tourism is throwing its full support behind this event.
“The entire tourism community in Ottawa is excited to host the athletes, coaches, officials, family, and spectators of this important and prestigious event,” said Michael Crockatt, President and CEO of Ottawa Tourism. “We appreciate the talent that will be on display at the games and look forward to showcasing the attractions of this region.”
And it doesn’t end with the 2022 OSIG; the youth Games are only a prelude to a 5-year agreement with ISWO, which includes two editions of the Masters Indigenous Games (2023 and 2025), an international event, highlighting Indigenous sport and cultures from around the world.
“ISWO is thrilled to host the 2022 Ontario Summer Indigenous Games and return to in-person programming,” said Marc Laliberte, President of Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario. “Sport is perhaps one of the most powerful tools we have to inspire hope and open doors to a world of opportunity. This is particularly true for Indigenous communities, where sport not only contributes immensely to overall wellness, but in many instances, saves lives. Sport is a part of who we are as Indigenous Peoples. Sport is good medicine. And at this time, after everything we’ve been through, our youth need this now more than ever. I’m so happy for the youth and incredibly excited to see them play, compete and dream.”
Hosted and developed by Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (the official Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Body for Ontario), the Ontario Summer Indigenous Games provides Indigenous youth, ages 13 to 18 years of age, the opportunity to compete against their peers in 11 sport categories. Formerly known as the Ontario Indigenous Summer Games, the Games first took place in 2016 within the Southwest Region in partnership with the Six Nations of the Grand River.