Masters Indigenous Games Opening Gala to be hosted at the Royal Ontario Museum



Opening Gala set to shine a spotlight on Indigenous Ontario, while celebrating Indigenous sport and culture from around the world.

Toronto, Ontario – April 6, 2018

The Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) is excited to announce that the Opening Gala for the inaugural Masters Indigenous Games (MIG) will take place at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM), on the evening of July 12, 2018. As Canada’s largest museum, with collections that span art, culture and nature from across time and around the globe, the ROM is an iconic cultural destination, and a beacon in the City of Toronto, for locals and tourists alike. The ROM attracts an astounding in-person attendance of approximately one million visitors, and another nearly four million visitors to its website, on an annual basis.

The Masters Indigenous Games Opening Gala will kick-off the four-day inaugural event, with a celebration of Indigenous culture, art and sport. All registered participants will receive a complimentary ticket to attend the Opening Gala, with a limited number of tickets available for Indigenous leadership, community partners, sponsor organizations, key stakeholders and dignitaries. The event is by invite only and is expected to be well-attended, by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders.

“Hosting the Opening Gala of the Masters Indigenous Games at the Royal Ontario Museum is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the diversity and rich cultural heritage of the Indigenous Peoples of Canada. The ROM is more than just a museum, it is a living entity, celebrating not just the past, but the present as well. The ROM’s role in supporting cultural knowledge sharing, education and the celebration of Indigenous artists and knowledge keepers is a great model to showcase to the rest of the world,” says Marc Laliberte, President of the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario.

The Opening Gala will feature cultural performances and tributes, highlighting Indigenous cultures from around the world, with a special emphasis on the rich heritage and diversity of Ontario’s Indigenous Peoples. Music and song by David R. Maracle, a five time Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards winner and recipient of the 2007 Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards for Best Instrumental Album, Worldwide, will serve as a feature performance, alongside Métis and Inuit performances. A sampling of Indigenous foods, performances by Indigenous artists and an opportunity to celebrate Indigenous sport achievements, will make the evening truly unforgettable. Attendees will also receive a special guided tour of the First Peoples Gallery, by Indigenous knowledge keepers who work with the ROM to ensure an interactive and genuine experience.

Committed to cultural preservation, education, research and community engagement, the ROM is a world-class cultural institution with a vision to inspire wonder and build understanding of human cultures and the natural world. The ROM’s Education and Programs department welcomes 150,000 School Group visits annually. Courses, lectures and special events are an additional draw for visitors to the Museum, with some of the offerings related to temporary exhibits, such as the much celebrated Anishinaabeg: Art & Power exhibit on display last summer. Like the Anishinaabeg, many Indigenous communities communicate and express their knowledge and cultural traditions through art, sport and dance, depicting the relationships between humans, their ancestors, nature, ceremony and supernatural beings known as spirits. The ROM has been working to increase Canadian Indigenous content and exhibits, celebrate Indigenous heritage and culture, and enhance relationships with local and global Indigenous communities, ensuring that the ROM is culturally inclusive and representative.

The First Peoples Gallery is an example of the ROM’s commitment to ensuring that a relevant cultural context is shared with visitors about Canada’s Indigenous Peoples. The Gallery explores Indigenous peoples through their ancestral objects and through their engagement with settler-colonist collectors. The objects on view tells stories of Indigenous identity, traditions, and beliefs across time, speaking to the vibrancy of Indigenous cultures both past and present. With more than a 1,000 objects on display, from Pre-European times to the present day, the Gallery provides a cultural context for Canada’s First Peoples and examines the economic and social forces that have influenced Indigenous culture and art.

About the Masters Indigenous Games

The Masters Indigenous Games was founded 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 Games will take place this coming July 12-15 and provide an opportunity for Indigenous adults from around the world, to engage in sport competition with their peers. The Masters Indigenous Games are expected to take place every two years, and like the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG), are a celebration of both sport achievement and distinct cultural heritage.

The Masters Indigenous Games are a direct legacy of the successful Toronto 2017 NAIG which took place in the Greater Toronto Area last July.

MIG 2018 Quick Facts:

  • The MIG 2018 will take place from July 12-15, 2018, with the majority of events taking place at Downsview Park located in Toronto, Ontario. For more information, visit
  • Masters Indigenous Games 2018 (MIG 2018) will feature approximately 2000 participants, 500 volunteers, various contemporary (athletics, badminton, basketball, canoe, golf, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball and volleyball) and traditional sports (archery, standing kick, tug of war and tepee building).
  • The Masters Indigenous Games feature global Indigenous participation.
  • A cultural festival showcasing Indigenous artists, performers, sport demonstrations, storytellers and vendors, will be located at Downsview Park and free and open to the public throughout the Games; for vendor information, please visit
  • The MIG 2018 will also feature a closing Powwow, with Dance Specials and a Community Feast on the last day of competition.
  • The MIG was founded by the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO), the official Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Body for Ontario.


The Masters Indigenous Games 2018 honours and acknowledges the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit. The Masters Indigenous Games 2018 also acknowledges all Indigenous Peoples and communities across the province of Ontario, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, living both on and off reserve, in rural and urban communities.

Contact Information:

Abidah Shirazi

Manager, Communications and Media Relations