August 6-21, 2022
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by: 2021 Canada Games Host Society

Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games celebrates National Indigenous History Month

National Indigenous History Month

In June, the Niagara 2021 Canada Summer Games celebrated National Indigenous History Month, a month dedicated to the celebration of the indigenous peoples of Canada, as well as their culture and history.

The Niagara region has long been an area of significance for indigenous culture. It’s significance stems from the creation myth of Turtle Island, which tells the story of the creation of North America on the back of a turtle. Many First Nations people believe the Niagara escarpment to be the spine of the turtle, and the center of creation and heart of North America.

Niagara 2021 is excited to be a part of such a rich tapestry of cultural history.

On June 14th, Niagara 2021 was well represented at the Celebrate OUR Nations event, hosted at Niagara Parks’ Landscape of Nations: The Six Nations & Native Allies Commemorative Memorial at Queenston Heights. In attendance was Board member, Michele-Elise Burnett, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre Vance Badawey and members of the 2021 Canada Games Host Society Niagara.

Part of Niagara 2021’s plan to incorporate Indigenous culture into the upcoming games includes making the official mascot, the ‘guardian of the games’, a turtle, to acknowledge the significance of Turtle Island to this region. Students were asked to design the mascot, and consider things like the significance of the turtle to the native communities in the area, in order to increase education and awareness.

Additionally, Niagara 2021 will prove important for acknowledging indigenous history, as box lacrosse makes its official return to the games for the first time since 1985.

Known as “baggataway” or “tewaarton”, lacrosse is considered the medicine game. Considered a gift from the Creator to be played for his enjoyment, play symbolized the cycle of life, and was thought to have healing powers for those who played it.

Adding a culturally vital sport like this to a national platform is an important step in Canada’s continued efforts towards reconciliation. Inclusion of the sport at Niagara 2021 acknowledges the important role that lacrosse has played throughout Canada’s history, and specifically in the Niagara region, which has always been a hotbed for the game.

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