We call upon all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth, and continued support for the North American Indigenous Games, including funding to host the games and for provincial and territorial team preparation and travel. 

Indigenous Watchdog Status Update

Current StatusJune 14, 2021IN PROGRESS
Previous StatusMarch 31, 2021IN PROGRESS

Why “In Progress”?

North American Indigenous Games have been postponed two times now: the July 12 – 18, 2020 Games in K’jipuktuk (Halifax), Aldershot and Millbrook, were postponed due to COVID-19. The 2021 Master Indigenous Games scheduled for Ottawa from Aug. 5-9, 2021 has also now been postponed (Dec. 18, 2020) with new dates to be announced when details have been finalized.

The federal government has made multiple funding allocations through Budgets 2017 and 2018 (through to 2023) to address:

  • long-term Aboriginal athlete development and growth
  • continued support for the North American Indigenous Games
  • funding to host the games and for provincial and territory team preparation and travel

There has been minimal commitments for ongoing funding at the provincial/territory level aside from federal budget contributions to local initiatives. Limited provincial commitment for the North American Indigenous Games other than ‘Bid” funding for locally hosted North American Indigenous Games.

Mar. 25, 2020 – North American Indigenous Games scheduled to be held July 12 – 18 in Kjipuktuk (Halifax), Aldershot and Millbrook, have been postponed due to the ongoing situation with COVID-19

Sports Organizations Funding Commitments to Indigenous Sports

Ministry of Sports and Persons with Disabilities
  • Budget 2017 = $18.7M/5 yrs
  • $5.5M every year after 2022 to support Indigenous youth through sport.
Coaching Association of Canada

Feb. 13, 2019Canada Games Apprenticeship Program 23 women and 12 Indigenous coaches from across Canada will meet in Red Deer, AB to participate in the 2019 Canada Winter Games Feb. 15 – Mar 3.  The CCAP provides women and Indigenous coaches with a practical and integrated major national multi-sport games experience.

Aboriginal Apprentice Coach Program (AACP) The AACP is a partnership between the Aboriginal Sport Circle (ASC), the Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Bodies (PTASBs), the Provincial/Territorial Coaching Representatives (PTCRs), the Canada Games Council (CGC), and the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC). The program provides the opportunity for each province and territory to send two NCCP coaches of aboriginal ancestry to the Canada Games in apprenticeship roles.

June 9, 20202021 Canada Games The Aboriginal Apprentice Coach Program (AACP) is a partnership between the Aboriginal Sport Circle (ASC), Canada’s Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Bodies (PTASBs), Provincial/Territorial Coaching Representatives (PTCRs), the Canada Games Council (CGC), and the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC). It provides the opportunity for each province and territory to send two (2) coaches of Aboriginal ancestry to the Canada Games in apprenticeship roles. In 2021, the Canada Summer Games will be held in Ontario’s Niagara region. Apprentice coaches will attend the 2021 Canada Summer Games as fully accredited members of their respective provincial or territorial team. In doing so they will gain important exposure to a high-profile multi-sport event and benefit from supervision and evaluation from dedicated mentor coaches. Nearly all Apprentice Coaches go on to pursue training within the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) and to apply their combined knowledge to coaching in their communities.

Aboriginal Sports Council – Sports Support Program

Annual funding of $800,000 is to ensure accessible and inclusive recreational sport systems are in place to improve the health and well-being of Indigenous communities through sport participation through four flagship programs: Athlete Development, Coaching Development, Competition/Games Opportunities and Recognition of Excellence.

Indigenous Sports and Wellness Ontario

Masters Indigenous GamesSport Development Tour The tour features sport clinics and multi-sport camps to help develop sport specific skills for those just starting out or wanting to try something new, tryouts, competitions and tournaments for those already at the competitive level, and an athlete identification program, which identifies athletes at partner and community sport events, who have the potential to represent Team Ontario at the upcoming 2020 NAIG in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

A major component of this model are the community partnerships ISWO is developing and strengthening, to achieve more with less. Working with existing sport programs, community championships, events and tournaments, ISWO is able to focus on playing a supporting role by bringing in sport expertise, specialized sport development leaders, identifying and scouting athletes, helping to run and organize sports and events, and sharing information with participating youth and families about opportunities in sport, available to them. 

The Athlete Institute and Indigenous Sport & Wellness Ontario (ISWO) announce a partnership aimed at developing basketball for the Indigenous youth of Ontario. The partnership brings together the best basketball development program in Canada and the designated Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sport Body (P/TASB) for Ontario, to host regional and provincial tournaments, tryouts for national and international sport events, develop passionate coaches and create player pathways, camps, clinics and programming.

Masters Indigenous Games: Ottawa – August 5-8, 2020

Aug. 27, 2020 – The Masters Indigenous Games are scheduled for Ottawa from August 5-8, 2021. The games provide Indigenous adults aged 20 years and older, the opportunity to compete against their peers in a variety of contemporary and traditional sporting activities. The Games bring together thousands of Indigenous athletes from around the world to compete in sport competitions, celebrate Indigenous wellness, and showcase the rich diversity of cultures and traditions of the world’s Indigenous Peoples. The development and growth of the MIG would not be possible without the ongoing support and commitment from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, who continues to support sport development for Indigenous Peoples in the province

Government Commitments to North American Indigenous Games

British Columbia

BC committed $3.5M to their unsuccessful bid for the 2020 NAIG Songhees Nation Games bid.

BC Sport Participation Program (BCSPP), funded $244,000 in 2018/19 equally by the Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia. This new funding will also improve sport opportunities for Indigenous populations and support projects that strengthen physical literacy and the participation of children and youth in sport as well as strengthen the capacity and leadership of Indigenous sport organizations and to increase culturally relevant sport programming for Indigenous children and youth, such as supporting athletes from British Columbia training for the North American Indigenous Games.

June 28, 2019 – $1.46M in funding to offset costs for more than 500 athletes, coaches, chaperones and mission staff from B.C. Without this funding, fees would need to be increased and participation on Team BC would be out of reach for many families. Reducing barriers to participation in sport remains a priority for both the provincial government and the Indigenous Sport, Physical Activity and Recreation Council (I∙SPARC), the provincial organization that oversees B.C.’s participation in the NAIG.


Regina hosted the 2014 NAIG events


Dec. 21, 2020 – Provided funding support for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Operations Coordinator and preparation for Team Manitoba to participate in NAIG games to be held in Halifax, Nova Scotia July 2020 (now postponed due to COVID-19)


The Government of Ontario has provided matching funds for the Toronto 2017 NAIG of $3.5M, and, through the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, and the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, has committed to support the execution of the event.

Nova Scotia

May 4, 2018 – Nova Scotia has committed $3.5M funding for the 2020 event that will be held in Halifax and Millbrook, First Nation in Truro, NS.

New Brunswick

June 22, 2018 – New licence plate promotes Nova Scotia’s Mi’kmaw heritage. The plate features a Mi’kmaw petroglyph that many Mi’kmaq connect to the eight-point star, which has political and historical significance, while some connect the image to the traditional districts of Mi’kma’ki which is Mi’kmaw traditional territory. The additional $24 donation fee will support Mi’kmaw youth sport and recreation activities.

Official Federal Government Response: Sept. 5, 2019

Sept. 5, 2019 – Through Budget 2017, the Government of Canada invested $18.9 million over 5 years, starting in fiscal year 2017 to 2018, and ongoing funding of $5.5 million every 4 years thereafter, to support Indigenous youth through sport initiatives. More Indigenous children and youth will be able to participate in sport through investments in the following 4 areas:

  • Indigenous sport leadership
  • culturally relevant sport programming
  • the North American Indigenous Games
  • Sport Canada’s data and research

More specifically, the investments will allocate funds to:

  • the Aboriginal Sport Circle to assume a greater leadership role on Indigenous sport development
  • provinces and territories, through bilateral agreements, to increase the operational capacity of provincial and territorial Indigenous sport bodies, increase the offering of culturally relevant sport programming including North American Indigenous Games team preparation and travel
  • national sport organizations and multisport service organizations to ensure long-term indigenous athlete development and growth through increasing the offering of culturally relevant sport programming
  • the North American Indigenous Games on a 4-year cycle starting in fiscal year 2019 to 2020 to ensure the Games are hosted in Canada every 4 years

The Government of Canada, through Sport Canada, will be providing the Toronto 2017 NAIG Host Society with up to $3.5M of funding to support the hosting of the Games through its Hosting Program. Have also committed to providing ongoing funding of $1M to support travel costs for provincial and territory teams.

As this initiative is implemented, the government will look for opportunities to profile excellence among Indigenous youth in sport. Through Budget 2018, the Government of Canada invested $47.5 million over 5 years and $9.5 million per year ongoing, to expand the use of sport for social development in more than 300 Indigenous communities.