Through the celebration of athletic achievement and cultural heritage, the Games inspire a commitment to wellness and deep sense of pride in being Indigenous.
August 17, 2018 – Toronto, ON – As athletes bowed their heads to accept their medals and posed for pictures with fellow teammates, children, parents, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters, showcasing their hard-earned shiny new hardware, the immense pride of accomplishment, was clear as day. The Masters Indigenous Games 2018 (MIG 2018) was an opportunity for Indigenous adults from around the world, to compete in sport, develop their skills, get fit and have fun while doing it. Although the event was geared towards adults over the age of 20, the event brought families and communities together, with kids cheering on their parents, and in some cases, parents and their grown children competing together. The MIG 2018 was a bridge builder, an opportunity to create dialogue through sport and culture, for the increased wellness of Indigenous Peoples.
With participation from more than six countries and 59 Indigenous communities, 600 participants, 70 cultural performers, and 322 medals awarded, the inaugural Masters Indigenous Games was a considerable success in bringing together sport and culture, within an Indigenous framework of wellbeing.
“The MIG 2018 brought us together, in celebration, in strength and in solidarity,” said Marc Laliberte, president, Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario. “The pride I saw on participant’s faces, the dedication, the coming together of community, the sharing of our collective knowledge, brought tears to my eyes and gratitude to my heart. We have only scratched the surface and laid the groundwork, as we will continue to build upwards, and reach higher to inspire more individuals to celebrate wellness through sport, in their own culturally distinct ways.”
Sport wasn’t the only field of play showcasing the motivation, dedication and pride of participants. Cultural performances, interactive traditional sport demonstrations, a Pow Wow and community feast, were all platforms for Indigenous Peoples to strive, achieve, inspire and most importantly, to celebrate their identity, community, traditions and history.
The Games were an important pathway to continue the dialogue and journey of reconciliation, with a Cultural Village and Pow Wow which was open to the public and saw more than 5,000 people in attendance over the four-day event. Children from summer camps in the City attended the Cultural Festival and learned about traditional Indigenous art, music, stories and sports such as high-kick, a traditional sport from the arctic, practiced by the Inuit Peoples and demonstrated by Johnny Issaluk. Issaluk, a world renowned athlete who has been practicing, competing, performing, coaching and teaching Inuit Games for more than 20 years, culminating in his status as one of the most successful Inuit Games athletes of his generation, is a shining example of
what the Games can inspire. In a similar fashion, the Pow Wow, with more than 200 registered dancers and 1,500 people in attendance throughout the day, was a dazzling display of heritage and cultural pride, a sacred ceremony for Indigenous Peoples – a way of wellness – thousands of years old.
The MIG 2018, developed by the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO), achieved something great – the lighting of a flame, burning bright for personal and community wellness, through Indigenous frameworks of sport and culture. As part of the inaugural Games, a campaign entitled ‘Wellness Warriors’ was launched, with the intent of celebrating Indigenous ways of wellness. The campaign highlighted athletes, coaches, leaders, parents, healers, knowledge keepers and everyday people, doing amazing things in their own lives, creating a ripple effect within their communities and beyond. MIG 2018 changed perceptions and understandings of Indigenous ways of being and doing, and was able to diversify media representations of Indigenous peoples by showcasing their great achievements and successes, an important step in changing the current discourse around Indigenous Peoples in Canada, and across the world.
About the Masters Indigenous Games
The Masters Indigenous Games was founded by the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) 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 took place July 12-15, providing an opportunity for Indigenous adults from around the world to engage in sport competition with their peers.
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 took place from July 12-15, 2018, with the majority of events taking place at Downsview Park located in Toronto, Ontario.
The MIG 2018 featured more than 600 participants, from six countries and 59 Indigenous communities, 300 volunteers, 200 registered Pow Wow dancers, 70 cultural performers, with more than 5,000 people in attendance over the four-day event.
The MIG 2018 resulted in an economic impact of $3 million dollars and supported Indigenous performers, artists, and businesses.
A Cultural Village showcased Indigenous artists, performers, sport demonstrations, storytellers and vendors throughout the Games, and was free and open to the public.
The MIG 2018 held a traditional Powwow, with Dance Specials and a Community Feast on the last day of competition, attended by more than 1,500 people.
The Masters Indigenous Games was founded by the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO), the officially recognized Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Body for Ontario. For more information about ASWCO, please visit www.iswo.ca. https://iswo.ca
MIG 2018 Social Media:
The Masters Indigenous Games 2018 honours and acknowledges the Treaty Lands and Territory of the Mississaugas of the New 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.
MIG 2018 Communications Team