As the official Ontario host candidate for the 2020 NAIG, ASWCO and Ottawa envision the Games as a pathway to Reconciliation; an investment in Indigenous youth

Ottawa, ON – January, 31, 2018 – City of Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson announced with pride and enthusiasm, during his annual State of the City address on Wednesday, that Ottawa, in partnership with the Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO), was putting forward a bid to host the 2020 North American Indigenous Games (2020 NAIG).

“The City of Ottawa is honoured to have been chosen as Ontario’s host candidate for the 2020 North American Indigenous Games,’’ said Mayor Watson. ‘’This opportunity is a meaningful way for us to engage in our country’s Reconciliation efforts and to recognize the achievements of Indigenous youth from across Turtle Island. I look forward to working with our Indigenous community partners, the Algonquins, as well Ontario’s other First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities, along with Ottawa Tourism and ASWCO, to highlight what a great city Ottawa would be to host the 10th edition of the North American Indigenous Games.’’

Just last Tuesday, ASWCO announced Ottawa as the winner of its provincial bid process and the official Ontario host candidate for the 2020 NAIG. The official bid application must be submitted to NAIG Council by mid-March. Site visits will then take place in late April, while bid presentations and the final vote will be held in May.

Since its inception, the North American Indigenous Games Movement has celebrated the achievements, unity and distinct cultural heritage of Indigenous Peoples from across Turtle Island. It has brought together youth, families, communities and Nations through an inspirational multi-sport and cultural event, unlike any other in the world, providing unique opportunities for sharing, learning and success.

Today, the Games present an opportunity to embrace the remarkable achievements, spirit and resilience of Indigenous peoples from across Turtle Island, and inspire hope for future generations. More importantly, the North American Indigenous Games represent a pathway to reconciliation, through the inspirational power of sport.

The North American Indigenous Games are referenced within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) 94 Calls to Action, as Call to Action #88. In an effort to increase the dialogue around reconciliation and additionally, to challenge prevalent stereotypes and breakdown barriers, Toronto 2017 NAIG organizers created a legacy campaign focused on utilizing the unifying power of sport, to engage all Canadians in a conversation about reconciliation. That campaign, entitled Team 88 (in reference to the 88th Call to Action), became the rallying cry of participants, coaches, families, communities, volunteers, spectators and stakeholders alike. Team 88 was instrumental in showcasing Indigenous youth in a new light, a spotlight of achievement and success, while still bringing attention and focus to the many issues and challenges facing Indigenous youth and their communities across Canada, today.

Hosting 2020 NAIG in Canada’s capital would allow the NAIG Movement and Team 88 to amplify its message. Ottawa 2020 NAIG would significantly contribute to answering the five Calls to Action within the TRC (#87-#91), related to sport. A bid for Ottawa 2020 NAIG would support increased opportunities for Indigenous youth, which would be felt not only in Ontario, but across the entire country.

Important partners in advancing the 2020 NAIG Ottawa bid will be future collaboration with the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO), Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), and the Ottawa Aboriginal Coalition. With multiple direct flights weekly to Iqaluit, Ottawa is also home to approximately 4,000 Inuit residents, making it the largest Inuit community outside of Nunavut.

“The Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation are pleased to be a part of this bid to host the 10th North American Indigenous Games in the heart of un-surrendered Algonquin Territory,’’ said Chief Kirby Whiteduck of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation. ‘’We welcome the opportunity to work with the many partners and provide a memorable experience to all the athletes, families and communities who participate from across Turtle Island. With the infusion of First Nation, Metis and Inuit cultures represented, we expect an exciting and meaningful event for all participants.”

Aside from Team 88 and legacy, the City of Ottawa presents a unique opportunity to provide a world-class participant experience, imbedded in the Indigenous communities that make the Greater Ottawa Region their home. Ottawa has a history of staging successful international sporting events and has built a reputation for delivering an unparalleled experience for participants, spectators, sponsors, rights holders and volunteers. In just the last four years, the City of Ottawa has played host to more than a dozen different national championships, in addition to countless festivals, concerts, Indigenous events and annual community events.

Ottawa’s unique landscape and natural settings, its infrastructure and transportation networks, world-class sport and event venues, breadth of cultural and sporting organizations, and diversity of peoples and cultures, provides the perfect framework to host the 2020 NAIG. An event that will pave a pathway for continued dialogue and collaborative action, in support of reconciliation through sport; Ottawa 2020 NAIG would take Team 88 and the NAIG Movement to soaring new heights.

ASWCO Quick Facts:
– The Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) is the official Provincial/Territorial Aboriginal Sporting Body (P/TASB) for Ontario and serves all 133 First Nations, in addition to Inuit and Metis Peoples, living both on and off reserve, in urban and rural settings.

– A legacy of Toronto 2017 NAIG, ASWCO will be hosting the inaugural Masters Indigenous Games (MIG), from July 12-15 in Toronto, ON. The MIG 2018 will feature both contemporary and traditional sports, a cultural village and powwow, with more than 2000 Indigenous participants expected from around the world. Learn more at

– The Masters Indigenous Games will take place every two years, in communities and municipalities across the province of Ontario.

– ASWCO runs more than 40 events on an annual basis, including multi-sport and leadership camps, the Ontario Native Basketball Invitational, the Ontario Native Volleyball
Invitational, sport clinics, try-outs for Aboriginal Team Ontario, conferences, workshops and retreats.ASWCO has developed a number of strategies to ensure its providing community relevant programming, including: a Far North Strategy, Urban Indigenous Strategy, Youth Leadership and Mental Health Strategy and a High Performance Strategy.

– ASWCO hosted the Ontario Aboriginal Summer Games in 2016, with the next scheduled Games to take place in 2019.

– Net proceeds from Toronto 2017 NAIG were directed to a Legacy Fund, aimed at increasing sport and wellness programming, services, and equipment to Indigenous youth and communities, across the province of Ontario.


ASWCO honours the traditional lands and homelands of all Indigenous Peoples and communities across the province of Ontario, including First Nations, Inuit and Metis living both on and off reserve, in rural and urban communities.

Contact Information:
Abidah Shirazi
Senior Advisor, Communications and Media Relations; 416-825-3348