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The North American Indigenous Games

SASKATCHEWAN INDIAN      AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 1993      v22 n07 p09  
The North American Indigenous Games, 1993 Approximately 5000 Indian, Metis and Inuit athletes and coaches from 17 areas in North America gathered at Prince ALbert, during the week of July 18th to the 24th, to participate in the 1993 NORTH AMERICAN INDIGENOUS GAMES. The event proved to be one of the largest Indigenous sporting spectacle to have taken place in North America. The 1993 Indigenous games are the second ever to be held. The first North American Indigenous Games were held in Edmonton in July 1990. About 3000 athletes and officials took part in the Edmonton Games. Judging from the success and effective management of the 1993 games, it would appear that games chairman Eugene Arcand was a astute observer of the former games. Arcand was the head coach of the Saskatchewan team at the Edmonton games in 1990.

The 1993 Games saw representation from all ten provinces and the two territories. The United States was represented by teams from Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Montana and Washington.

The games consisted of two components: sport and culture. The sporting component included competition in 14 events: archery, badminton, baseball, basketball, boxing, canoeing, golf, rifle shooting, soccer, softball, swimming, track and field, volleyball and wrestling. The competitions were held in four age groups (for both male and female): Bantam (13 and under), Midget (14 to 15 yrs.), Juvenile (16 to 17 yrs.) and senior (18 yrs. and over). The cultural component of the games was illustrated through a massive cultural festival that took place throughout the week.

The cultural festival included: daily multicultural performers, Aboriginal talent show, old time Jamboree, arts and craft show, powwow and round dance, Miss Indigenous Games pageant, Aboriginal fashion show, rodeo, international food fair and a concert featuring Kashtin.

The 1993 games proved to be a success despite a large funding shortfall. It had been anticipated by organizers that the Federal Government would contribute approximately $900,000. toward the operation of the games. The Federal government allocation towards the games came in at $203,000. - which amounts to 2.5 % of the amount allocated by the Federal Government to the Jeux Canada Summer Games. The province provided another $100,000., and corporate sponsors contributed $250,000.

"We can't allow governments to dictate our development because of funding, " said Arcand. "Considering this is only our second games, pulling it off with a minimal amount of dollars says a lot for the commitment and leadership in Saskatchewan."