B.C. is behind the 2020 North American Indigenous Games.
Despite a wet and dreary day outside the Parliament Buildings, spirits were high inside following an announcement British Columbia earmarked $3.5-million in funding for the Songhees Nation Games bid. In addition to cultural programs to be added as a lasting legacy to the games.
“I am proud to announce provincial support for the Songhees Nation bid to host the 2020 North American Indigenous Games,” said Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Scott Fraser. “This support includes a direct financial commitment of three-and-a-half million dollars.”
NAIG representatives from Yukon, Colorado, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan were in attendance scouting venues across Greater Victoria. Ottawa and Halifax are the other two cities in the running after Winnipeg dropped out last year. All three bid cities have the backing of their respective provinces for funding and a decision will be announced at a conference in Montreal in May.
“These games represent an opportunity to come together to support indigenous athletes and celebrate the rich diversity of culture,” Fraser continued. “We want to provide ways to engage indigenous young in sport so they can enjoy its many benefits. Because sport can have an impact well beyond an athletic career.”
Victoria council voted in March to provide $440,000 spread out over the 2019 and 2020 budget in the event the Songhees Nation-led bid were successful. In addition a statement encouraged fellow Greater Victoria municipalities to contribute approximately $5 per capita, spread out over two years.
A Winnipeg bid for the 2020 Games fell through, opening the door for Victoria to bid for the multi-sport event Victoria last hosted in 1997.
The 2017 event, joint hosted by Toronto and Hamilton saw approximately 5,000 athletes competed in 14 sports.
With files from Lauren Boothby and Don Descoteau.