News & Events

NAIG Insider March/April Newsletter

April 4, 2017








With more than 5000 participants, 2000 volunteers and 14 sport categories, the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) is expected to be the largest sport and cultural gathering of Indigenous Peoples from across North America. 




Toronto 2017 NAIG Host Society honours the traditional lands and homelands on which the 2017 North American Indigenous Games will take place. We honour and thank the Huron-Wendat Nation, Metis Nation of Ontario, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation and Six Nations of the Grand River as our community partners and traditional inhabitants of the lands of the City of Toronto, Region of Hamilton, Durham Region and surrounding areas.

Toronto 2017 NAIG Host Society is grateful for the opportunity to gather Indigenous people from across Turtle Island in support of all participants of the Toronto 2017 NAIG.










Inspiring a generation. Celebrate the unifying power of sport and culture and join us on April 19 for a free, public event featuring a celebration of Indigenous heritage and sport achievement.

The event will feature sport and cultural activation's, surprise guests, a photo booth, and  an official proclamation from the City of Toronto, recognizing the power of sport and recreation as a pathway to reconciliation.  

We are all #Team88 – Join us in celebrating 88 Days Out to the  Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games.







McMaster University Hosts NAIG Day in Celebration of
Toronto 2017 NAIG Western Hub

On March 16, the Toronto 2017 NAIG joined McMaster University and McMaster Indigenous Student Services in celebration of the Toronto 2017 NAIG Western Hub, that will welcome more than 1,800 athletes to the Region of Hamilton this July. As host to one of four athlete’s villages, soccer competition and cultural festivities, McMaster University will be the official hub for all sport and cultural action in the City of Hamilton during 2017 Games.

The event opened with prayer and a welcoming to the traditional territory of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation from Elder Garry Sault. Cheri Maracle, an actress and singer from Six Nations of the Grand River, was also on hand during the event entertaining the crowd with a hand-drum performance and honour song to welcome Toronto 2017 NAIG to the territory.

Among attendees from McMaster University were James Knibb-Lamouche, Associate Director of Indigenous Student Services, and Sean Koughnett, Associate Vice President of Students & Learning and Dean of Students. Elder and Culinary Olympian, Bertha Skye, was also part of the event to provide traditional Indigenous food samplings consisting of strawberry juice, scone and bison stew. Further outreach from the Hamilton community also included a surprise appearance from John Williams Jr, who is a former running back for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and currently serves as Coordinator of Community Partnerships for the organization.






National Aboriginal Physical Activity and

Wellness Conference (NAPAWC)


From May 10-12, the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) will be hosting the nation's largest conference on physical activity and wellness for First Nations, Métis and Inuit people, created for all of those with an interest in sports and recreation, health and wellness, and traditional activity.

The National Aboriginal Physical Activity and Wellness Conference (NAPAWC) will be held in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the University of Guelph, as the official venue to the conference. The event is a chance to share and listen to best practices, see the value in promoting physical activity in our Aboriginal communities and offers a networking and educational opportunity.

For more information on NAPAWC, visit







Monica King, North Spirit Lake First Nation


Receiving a call on her birthday, Monica King began her journey in sport with the North American Indigenous Games. Growing up playing baseball and basketball, Monica has always been an athlete; but this call would test her will, athletic ability and power to pursue. A former coach recognized her abilities and called her to offer a spot on the Team Ontario Track and Field team. Having only two days to train and prepare for the Games, Monica placed eighth among her heat in high jump, while also competing in long jump, javelin and discus.  

During her time at the Regina 2014 North American Indigenous Games, Monica was honoured to marshall in her teammates during the Opening Ceremony as the flag bearer for Team Ontario. As a member of the North Spirit Lake First Nation community, this was a significant honour as she was the only member to compete on behalf of her community during the Games.

Monica is currently a basketball coach in her community and uses her experiences as a past NAIG competitor to influence her coaching and life choices. Playing basketball during high school at Pelican Falls First Nation School, Monica’s journey in sport introduced her to new skills and opportunities that have inspired her to help the next generation of athletes. Monica credits the North American Indigenous Games as a creator of opportunity, leading a pathway to “something bigger and something new.”

Through her experience competing at the 2014 North American Indigenous Games, Monica has been inspired to pursue a career in sport. She is currently pursing post-secondary education opportunities in sport management and hopes to attend school in the fall. Monica also hopes to continue coaching Indigenous youth in her community, and aspires to one day compete in the Olympics.

Through Monica’s experiences and a chance call on her birthday, she realizes the power of sport in pushing personal limits and inspiring opportunity. Reflecting on her experience of training two days to compete for her community in a brand-new sport, Monica’s advice to younger athletes are to “take something on and keep going with it.” 







Need a reason to volunteer with Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games? In addition to supporting long-term Indigenous athlete development, equal access to sport and opportunities for Indigenous youth, we have a list of the Top 10 reasons why you should volunteer! 

Join more than 2,000 volunteers for eight days of exhilarating sport competition and celebration of Indigenous heritage. Join #Team88 by visiting the Official Toronto 2017 NAIG Volunteer Portal here.







Fort Albany First Nation - February 10 - 12


More than 80 youth from Fort Albany First Nation, Attawapiskat First Nation and Kashechewan First Nation took part in a three-day cultural and sport camp as part of the Toronto 2017 NAIG community tour. Through partnership with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario, Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Mushwegok Youth Council, Toronto 2017 NAIG was able to deliver a fun and interactive weekend for youth that involved cultural workshops and sport demonstrations.

The three-day event provided youth with the opportunity to consult with coaches and sport officials representing Team Ontario and an opportunity to engage in culture-based learning provided by Great Lakes Cultural Camps (based out of Sault Ste. Marie, ON). The cultural workshops included traditional cooking and harvesting, baaga’adowem (Anishinaabe lacrosse) and snow-snake competition. Youth also had the opportunity to learn more about the heritage and history of the Cree community through storytelling provided by Elder, Dr. Edmund Metatawabin.

Thank you to our hosts at Fort Albany First Nation, Peetabeck Academy, Great Lakes Cultural Camps and our Community Tour partners for making the first stop on the Toronto 2017 NAIG Community Tour a memorable experience!  




Pikangikum First Nation - February 24 - 26

More than 130 youth from nine Northern Ontario communities took part in the NAIG Community Tour and ASWCO Winter Festival hosted in partnership with Pikangikum First Nation from February 24-26. The youth participated in a variety of sport and cultural activities throughout the three-day program, and also had the opportunity to attend tryouts for Team Ontario. 

Breakdown of Youth by Community

  • North Spirit Lake: 6
  • Pelican Falls High School: 15
  • Sandy Lake: 12
  • Red Lake: 13
  • Kingfisher Lake: 7
  • Poplar Hill: 12 each day
  • Pikangikum: 65

Highlights from the weekend included the hosting of a Pow Wow, the first in over 16 years. More than 190 people, including community members, attended the Pow Wow, while another 90 youth were in the smaller gym participating in badminton tryouts. 

Pikangikum also hosted Team Ontario's largest volleyball tryout to date for the 2017 NAIG, with more than 85 youth trying out hoping to make the roster for Aboriginal Team Ontario.

The weekend ended with a beautifully prepared breakfast, followed by rifle, basketball and canoe/kayak tryouts. Other youth opted to get out on the ice with Great Lakes Cultural Camp to experience gill net fishing. A closing ceremony acknowledged everyone's participation during the weekend and wished everyone a safe journey home.





Anton from Deer Lake First Nation Submits Winning Design
for the Toronto 2017 NAIG Mascot

Following the three day festival in Pikangikum, members of the Toronto 2017 NAIG Host Society and the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario, traveled to Deer Lake to announce the winner of the Toronto 2017 NAIG Mascot Design Contest at the school in front of 150 students.

The official mascot of the Toronto 2017 NAIG will be unveiled on Thursday, April 13 – so keep your eyes open! Follow 2017 NAIG on social media to see the new mascot or come out to Nathan Phillips Square on April 19 to meet the new addition to the team!





Brock University Joins the Toronto 2017 NAIG Team

On March 1, Toronto 2017 NAIG joined the Brock University Department of Sport Management to celebrate a meaningful partnership with the faculty, with a focus on experiential learning. More than 60 upper-year sport management students will have the opportunity to gain major Games experience during the eight-day sport and cultural event. Students will provide more than 1,500 hours of volunteer service during the Games and will assist in delivering a best-in-class Games experience through a variety of roles.

Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry, Toronto 2017 NAIG Chief Executive Officer and Michael Cvitkovic, General Manager, were on-campus for the official announcement, and delivered an operational overview to students of the Major Games Field Course in preparation for their upcoming involvement. A ceremonial luncheon was also graciously provided by Brock Aboriginal Students Services; lead by Elder Carol Jacobs and Aboriginal Academic Support Program Coordinator, Sandra Wong. 





Celebrating March Break

Celebrating the power of sport and the opportunity it provides to Indigenous youth, Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games joined in the Little NHL hockey action during March Break. On the second day of competition, Toronto 2017 NAIG celebrated the athletes of the tournament with an on-ice activation hosted alongside special guests and Toronto 2017 NAIG ambassadors Ted and Brandon Nolan of the 3 Nolans. Two youth were selected from the tournament to shoot pucks alongside Ted and Brandon for a chance to win a Toronto 2017 NAIG prize pack.

Toronto 2017 NAIG also joined more than 300 exhibitors for Toronto’s Sportsmen Show. The week-long event welcomed more than 68,5000 visitors in 2016, and boats a diverse range of products and services that include fishing, hunting, marine,travel and outdoors equipment. Highlights of the show included an temporary installation of the Canadian Canoe Museum, which explores Canadian culture and history through the canoe, and an archery and air rifle range. All of of these sport experiences will also be showcased as competitions during Toronto 2017 NAIG.

Congratulations to Trenton Blackbird of Walpole Island First Nation, Ciara Peltier of Wikiwemikong First Nation and Pat Murdoch, as winners of the Toronto 2017 NAIG March Break prize pack!

On March 19, the Toronto St. Patrick’s Day Parade Host Society welcomed the Toronto 2017 NAIG as special guests during the 30th annual parade. Celebrating culture, diversity and the Toronto community, Toronto 2017 NAIG was proud to join more than 3,000 supporters walking in the parade.

March is turning out to be a very busy month of community activations for the Games with more exciting events planned in the coming weeks. Follow Toronto NAIG 2017 on Facebook (add link) and Twitter (add link) to find out where you can join the fun.








Welcome NationTalk


Toronto 201 NAIG is proud to announce a partnership with NationTalk, Canada's premier Indigenous newswire, employment, event and tender service. NationTalk sends and receives content through its site (, channel communities and free daily Morning Brief.






Aviva Centre to Host Opening Ceremony of Toronto 2017 NAIG 


Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games Host Society is proud to announce Aviva Centre as the official Opening Ceremony venue, scheduled to take place July 16, 2017. The world-class tennis venue, which stages the internationally renowned Rogers Cup, will welcome athletes, spectators and dignitaries from across Turtle Island for an electrifying production to officially open the ninth North American Indigenous Games. In addition to the parade of nations, the Aviva Centre will host a dazzling cultural program led by internationally acclaimed Indigenous artist Tekaronhiáhkhwa Santee Smith.

As Artistic Director to the Toronto 2017 NAIG Opening Ceremony cultural program, Smith celebrated in the intimacy and world-class caliber that the 7500-capacity venue provides.

“The intimacy of Aviva Centre will bring the artistic and cultural influence of the Opening Ceremony closer to the spectators in attendance. I look forward to working with our talented performers and the 2017 NAIG production team to bring the spirit of the Indigenous Games and the traditions of Indigenous people to this international stage.”

To read the full news release, click here.





Toronto 2017 NAIG Sports Schedule Released

Toronto 2017 NAIG is excited to release the overall sport schedule for this summer's upcoming Games. More than 5,000 participants will compete in 14 sports being held across the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including the Region of Hamilton and Six Nations of the Grand River.

The schedule outlines competition days for all 14 sports, and the world-class venues they will be hosted in. Competition will kick-off on July 17 with Athletics, Badminton, Baseball, Basketball, Lacrosse, Rifle Shooting, Soccer, and Softball. Competitions will finish on July 22 with the completion of the Soccer and Volleyball. To see the full schedule, click here.






Adrienne Comars – Coordinator, Community Relations

Adrienne Comars has a passion for creating equal opportunities for all youth. For the past 15 years, she has been part of numerous youth outreach projects located abroad and in Canada. Teaching youth how to be healthy and the importance of overall wellness has been at the forefront of her workshops.

“When youth learn how to eat healthy and stay active they are more likely to be more productive in the classroom. You’d be surprised what they can do when given the right opportunity. They know a lot more than you think and have taught me a lot,” says Adrienne.

Bridging her passion for community development and over two decades of experience in youth engagement, Adrienne hopes to increase awareness of the North American Indigenous Games and to provide an opportunity for promoting reconciliation initiatives using  sport as a vehicle through campaignTeam 88.

With a specialized Double Major in Geography and Urban Studies from York University, and a Masters in Planning from Ryerson University, Adrienne brings a valuable experience in civic engagement, social justice and a deepened understanding of community. Sport has also been a big part of Adrienne’s life and initially sparked her interest in youth engagement.

Growing up, Adrienne competed in swimming and eventually went on to coaching other youth. At the age of 16, Adrienne suffered a knee-injury which affected her ability to compete - but she never lost a love for the sport. Through her experience in coaching and teaching children and youth basic swim skills, she realized she had a passion for working with future generations and teaching valuable life skills through sport. This passion for youth and sport drives her success in her new role as Community Relations Coordinator with Toronto 2017 NAIG.

“The Games gives current and future generations of Indigenous youth equal opportunity for advancement. I’m hopeful that we will see more Indigenous youth compete in the Olympics,” says Adrienne.

When Adrienne isn’t in the office she’s likely biking around Toronto or giving cycling workshops to youth with Culture Link. Her experience building relationships with youth, and the community, and her drive to make a difference will make the Games a welcoming space.

Welcome to the Toronto 2017 NAIG team Adrienne! 



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