North American Indigenous Games coming to Toronto and GTA

Sports Jun 20, 2017 by Fannie Sunshine North York Mirror

Mary Bryton Nahwegahbow’s love of singing and sport will intertwine when she takes part in the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) next month.

This marks the first time The Games, held eight times since 1990, will be brought to Ontario.

From July 16 to 23, NAIG will welcome more than 5,000 participants from Canada and the United States to compete in 14 sports in venues across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.

Sport and cultural venues include Humber College, McMaster University, York University, University of Toronto Scarborough, City of Toronto venues, City of Hamilton venues, and venues within Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Along with sport, weeklong cultural festivals will be held, featuring traditional teachings, indigenous artists, vendors and cultural performers.

All the sporting events are free to the public, but the opening ceremonies at York University’s Aviva Centre will be by invitation only.

The NAIG are open to teens aged 13 to 19 born of North American Indigenous ancestry.

Mary, who lives in Ottawa and belongs to the Whitefish River First Nations band, will be singing the Canadian national anthem — in three languages — for the Games opening ceremonies.

“I’m so nervous,” the 15-year-old said of belting out O Canada in English, French, and Ojibwe, along with the American national anthem. “I’ve never sang the American anthem before.”

She’s been taking singing lessons since age five, and also plays drums and guitar.

“My overall goal is to be a pop star,” she said, naming Adele, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Justin Bieber as influences.

But performing the national anthems make up just one part of Mary’s NAIG experience, as she’s also taking to the field in Hamilton for the U16 match ups.

“I’m excited,” she said of her first NAIG. “I’m finally old enough to participate in the Games.”

Mary, who plays for Ottawa South United Soccer, said she’s also looking forward to meeting her fellow teammates and do some team bonding while staying in the McMaster University dorm rooms, and catching her best friend’s volleyball competition.

The teen started recreational soccer at age four before moving onto the competitive level four years later.

And if she had advice for young girls in sport, it would be this: “Never give up striving for your dreams and achieving your goals.”

Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry, CEO of Toronto 2017 NAIG, said three of the sports to be featured at the Games — lacrosse, canoe/kayak, and archery — have indigenous roots.

“The waterways were the first highways,” she said. “Archery speaks for itself, and there were various stick events across North America.”

NAIG athletes will also compete in athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, golf, rifle shooting, soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball and wrestling.

And with what she says is a lack of indigenous representation at prestigious sporting events such as the Olympic Games and Pan Am Games, the NAIG is much needed to celebrate indigenous youth.

“We celebrate who we are as indigenous people,” she said.

To volunteer or for a schedule of events visit www.naig2017.to

North American Indigenous Games coming to Toronto and GTA

Sports Jun 20, 2017 by Fannie Sunshine North York Mirror

Mary Bryton Nahwegahbow’s love of singing and sport will intertwine when she takes part in the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) next month.

This marks the first time The Games, held eight times since 1990, will be brought to Ontario.

From July 16 to 23, NAIG will welcome more than 5,000 participants from Canada and the United States to compete in 14 sports in venues across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.

Sport and cultural venues include Humber College, McMaster University, York University, University of Toronto Scarborough, City of Toronto venues, City of Hamilton venues, and venues within Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Along with sport, weeklong cultural festivals will be held, featuring traditional teachings, indigenous artists, vendors and cultural performers.

All the sporting events are free to the public, but the opening ceremonies at York University’s Aviva Centre will be by invitation only.

The NAIG are open to teens aged 13 to 19 born of North American Indigenous ancestry.

Mary, who lives in Ottawa and belongs to the Whitefish River First Nations band, will be singing the Canadian national anthem — in three languages — for the Games opening ceremonies.

“I’m so nervous,” the 15-year-old said of belting out O Canada in English, French, and Ojibwe, along with the American national anthem. “I’ve never sang the American anthem before.”

She’s been taking singing lessons since age five, and also plays drums and guitar.

“My overall goal is to be a pop star,” she said, naming Adele, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Justin Bieber as influences.

But performing the national anthems make up just one part of Mary’s NAIG experience, as she’s also taking to the field in Hamilton for the U16 match ups.

“I’m excited,” she said of her first NAIG. “I’m finally old enough to participate in the Games.”

Mary, who plays for Ottawa South United Soccer, said she’s also looking forward to meeting her fellow teammates and do some team bonding while staying in the McMaster University dorm rooms, and catching her best friend’s volleyball competition.

The teen started recreational soccer at age four before moving onto the competitive level four years later.

And if she had advice for young girls in sport, it would be this: “Never give up striving for your dreams and achieving your goals.”

Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry, CEO of Toronto 2017 NAIG, said three of the sports to be featured at the Games — lacrosse, canoe/kayak, and archery — have indigenous roots.

“The waterways were the first highways,” she said. “Archery speaks for itself, and there were various stick events across North America.”

NAIG athletes will also compete in athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, golf, rifle shooting, soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball and wrestling.

And with what she says is a lack of indigenous representation at prestigious sporting events such as the Olympic Games and Pan Am Games, the NAIG is much needed to celebrate indigenous youth.

“We celebrate who we are as indigenous people,” she said.

To volunteer or for a schedule of events visit www.naig2017.to

North American Indigenous Games coming to Toronto and GTA

Sports Jun 20, 2017 by Fannie Sunshine North York Mirror

Mary Bryton Nahwegahbow’s love of singing and sport will intertwine when she takes part in the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) next month.

This marks the first time The Games, held eight times since 1990, will be brought to Ontario.

From July 16 to 23, NAIG will welcome more than 5,000 participants from Canada and the United States to compete in 14 sports in venues across Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area.

Sport and cultural venues include Humber College, McMaster University, York University, University of Toronto Scarborough, City of Toronto venues, City of Hamilton venues, and venues within Six Nations of the Grand River Territory. Along with sport, weeklong cultural festivals will be held, featuring traditional teachings, indigenous artists, vendors and cultural performers.

All the sporting events are free to the public, but the opening ceremonies at York University’s Aviva Centre will be by invitation only.

The NAIG are open to teens aged 13 to 19 born of North American Indigenous ancestry.

Mary, who lives in Ottawa and belongs to the Whitefish River First Nations band, will be singing the Canadian national anthem — in three languages — for the Games opening ceremonies.

“I’m so nervous,” the 15-year-old said of belting out O Canada in English, French, and Ojibwe, along with the American national anthem. “I’ve never sang the American anthem before.”

She’s been taking singing lessons since age five, and also plays drums and guitar.

“My overall goal is to be a pop star,” she said, naming Adele, Rihanna, Beyoncé, and Justin Bieber as influences.

But performing the national anthems make up just one part of Mary’s NAIG experience, as she’s also taking to the field in Hamilton for the U16 match ups.

“I’m excited,” she said of her first NAIG. “I’m finally old enough to participate in the Games.”

Mary, who plays for Ottawa South United Soccer, said she’s also looking forward to meeting her fellow teammates and do some team bonding while staying in the McMaster University dorm rooms, and catching her best friend’s volleyball competition.

The teen started recreational soccer at age four before moving onto the competitive level four years later.

And if she had advice for young girls in sport, it would be this: “Never give up striving for your dreams and achieving your goals.”

Marcia Trudeau-Bomberry, CEO of Toronto 2017 NAIG, said three of the sports to be featured at the Games — lacrosse, canoe/kayak, and archery — have indigenous roots.

“The waterways were the first highways,” she said. “Archery speaks for itself, and there were various stick events across North America.”

NAIG athletes will also compete in athletics, badminton, baseball, basketball, golf, rifle shooting, soccer, softball, swimming, volleyball and wrestling.

And with what she says is a lack of indigenous representation at prestigious sporting events such as the Olympic Games and Pan Am Games, the NAIG is much needed to celebrate indigenous youth.

“We celebrate who we are as indigenous people,” she said.

To volunteer or for a schedule of events visit www.naig2017.to