Earlier this month, I attended the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Toronto. I had the great pleasure to meet with some of the 484 members of Team Manitoba, including about 100 athletes from Winnipeg.
Manitoba athletes competed against other athletes from across Canada and eight States, including Minnesota, Wisconsin, New York and California. Our provincial athletes made us proud in a variety of sports, including athletics, swimming, volleyball and badminton!
A central theme of NAIG was ‘We are all #Team88’ and it was also featured on the ribbon of the medals given to athletes. This refers to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada‘s (TRC) Call to Action #88, asking of levels of government to support Indigenous athlete development and long-term growth through NAIG.
The TRC highlighted the need to improve access to sport, at both the amateur and professional levels, for Indigenous youth. While continued support for the NAIG is an important element, it is just one of a number of ways the Government will take action to support Indigenous athlete and community development.
I’m proud to have moved a motion at the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage to undertake a study to find best practices on Indigenous participation in sport, in consultation with NAIG directors, and to make recommendations which will encourage increased participation in amateur and professional sports by Indigenous youth. The motion was approved and, once Parliament resumes in the Fall, the Committee will hold seven meetings to study the issue.
Now that Team Manitoba is back from NAIG, and also from the Canadian Francophonie Games in Moncton-Dieppe, we can now turn our focus to the Canada Games! Until August 13, Winnipeg is hosting the 50th edition of the Games and we are poised to truly make them the ‘Hottest Games’ ever! More than 300 athletes from Manitoba will be taking part in a variety of sports, including diving, swimming, volleyball, athletics, cycling and softball.
Whether at NAIG or the Canada Games, participating in events such as these is important for all our young athletes. Make sure to head out to the many events throughout Winnipeg and surrounding areas to cheer on our Manitoba athletes! Go #TeamToba!