The provincial government is committing $3.5 million to support the bid to bring the 2020 North American Indigenous Games to Victoria.
The Songhees First Nation is organizing the bid for the games, which will include more than 5,000 Indigenous participants in 15 events.
“I’m happy to support the Songhees Nation’s bid to host the 2020 North American Indigenous Games,” said Premier John Horgan.
“Sport plays a powerful role in the development of young people. These games present an opportunity to engage Indigenous youth in sport, and build on British Columbia’s commitment to the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations. We’d be thrilled to host the 2020 Games here.”
The government is commiting$3.5 million, or 35 per cent of the games’ budget, in support of the Songhees Nation’s bid. The Songhees Nation has brought together various parties to put forward its bid for the 2020 Games in the territory of the Lekwungen-speaking peoples, in the Greater Victoria area. The North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Council is visiting Victoria to assess the venue.
“The provincial government honours us and all Indigenous peoples throughout British Columbia with their support of our bid to host the North American Indigenous Games in 2020,” said Chief Sam of the Songhees Nation.
“Sport has played a significant role in my own life, and through sport, I see confidence and pride developing in my children and in youth throughout Indigenous communities. When one youth rises, others are encouraged to dream, to risk and to try, we all benefit. With the leadership and confidence of the provincial government, the 2020 North American Indigenous Games will serve as an important opportunity to illuminate for others the authentic journey of reconciliation that we are travelling together with our partners in this region.”
The 2020 games will be the North American Indigenous Games’ 30th anniversary. They are expected to be held in July 2020. If the Songhees First Nation wins the 2020 bid, it will be the third time the games have been held on Vancouver Island. The games were held in Victoria in 1997 and in the Cowichan area in 2008.
The games are closely connected to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action. Five of the commission’s 94 Calls to Action deal with sports – including Action 88 that calls for continued support for the North American Indigenous Games and long-term athlete development.