Calgary wins the bid to host the 2027 North American Indigenous Games
Calgary has been chosen to host the 2027 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) – the largest multi-sport and culture event for Indigenous youth of Turtle Island-the name referring in indigenous communities in the lands of North America. The Games, which take place every four years, will be returning to their roots, having begun in Alberta more than 30 years ago.
“We are honoured that the North American Indigenous Games Council has chosen Calgary to host the Games,” said Cindy Ady, CEO Tourism Calgary upon learning that Calgary had been chosen as the hosting city.
“The Games will inspire thousands of Indigenous youth through sport, and will be a tremendous opportunity to celebrate and strengthen our understanding of Indigenous culture and heritage, all while bringing significant economic activity to our area,” she affirmed.
The NAIG bid was prepared by Tourism Calgary in partnership with Tsuut’ina Nation (Turtle Island), with input and involvement from local Indigenous Nations, The City of Calgary, and many community partners. Turtle Island refers to the lands now known as the continent of North America. The name comes from various Indigenous oral histories that tell stories of a turtle that holds the world on its back.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be a partner and for Calgary to have been selected to host the North American Indigenous Games in 2027,” said Tsuut’ina Nation Chief Roy Whitney. “We look forward to hosting Indigenous athletes and families on our beautiful lands at the foothills of the Rockies. We are confident that visitors will have an unforgettable experience, with elite competition and cultural activities throughout the Games.”
Indigenous Sport Council Alberta (ISCA), who selected Calgary to be the Alberta nominee late last year, cited strong support from The City of Calgary and surrounding Nations as a key factor in Calgary’s success.
“We have every confidence that Calgary, its surrounding Nations, communities and organizations will host tremendous Games,” highlighted Shannon Dunfield, Chair of ISCA and President of the NAIG Council. “After 37 years, we are excited to bring the Games back to Alberta to share our vibrant Indigenous cultures and the beauty of our province with all of Turtle Island!”
The Games will bring more than 5,000 participants from over 756 Nations around North America, competing in 16 sporting events and offering cultural events. Among the participants, the NAIG will welcome over 5,000 Indigenous Youth Participants in three age groups (14U-16U and 19U) as well as over 3,000 volunteers and a high number of performers for cultural events.
“The opportunity to welcome Indigenous athletes, coaches, families and fans to Calgary for these games is a tremendous honour,” explained Jyoti Gondek, Mayor of Calgary. “We are committed to an inclusive, week-long celebration of sport and culture which will have a lasting impact on Indigenous athletes and Calgarians.”
Joseph Schow, Alberta’s Minister of Tourism and Sport, extended congratulations on behalf of the Province as part of the announcement
“We’re delighted that the Calgary bid is successful. Alberta has a history of presenting world-class sporting events, and we look forward to sharing the best of what the province has to offer with athletes and teams from across North America in 2027.”
Audrey Poitras, President of Métis Nation of Alberta, added: “The Métis Nation of Alberta fully supports the City of Calgary in hosting the 2027 Games. It will be a remarkable time for the Province, the City of Calgary, and our Indigenous Nations to come together to compete, to showcase what we have to offer and what we can do!” To all current and future athletes, she continues, “Give all you can give to the sport you love, that is the true spirit of an athlete.”
Games such as these require tremendous support from the community and will involve a number of facilities, post-secondary institutions throughout Calgary and Tsuut’ina Nation to help host the Games’ competitions, opening and closing ceremonies, and cultural components. Preliminary cost estimates for the Games are between C$15 – C$20 million with the support of Canadian federal government.
Major events like this have a significant impact on the local economy. This event is expected to deliver approximately C$40 million in economic impact. Pre-pandemic, the city’s tourism industry contributed approximately C$2.1 billion in visitor spending with over 8 million visitors annually.