News & Events

NAIG Insider May Newsletter

May 12, 2017


The countdown is on! With less than three months left to go until the opening ceremonies of the Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (Toronto 2017 NAIG), here is a quick list list of the landmark events,major announcements and upcoming initiatives:

#1. Debwe from Deer Lake First Nation Unveiled as Official Mascot – Set to Embark on Community Tour

On Thursday April 13, Debwe, the turtle, was revealed as the official mascot of the Toronto 2017 NAIG. The original design was created by contest winner Anton Meekis, a 14-year-old student from Deer Lake First Nation. With help from the Toronto 2017 NAIG Cultural Advisory Committee and local Indigenous creative agency, The Jensen Group. Debwe made his debut before a crowd of local school children at the Aboriginal Education Centre in Toronto.
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#2. Weather Network announced as ‘Official Weather Partner’ of the Toronto 2017 NAIG!

Also on April 13, Debwe made an in-studio appearance at The Weather Network in Oakville for an announcement showcasing TWN as the Official Weather Partner of the Toronto 2017 NAIG.

The Weather Network is set to provide forecasts for the days leading up to and throughout the Games for the 16 competition venues and two cultural festival sites. The Weather Network will also broadcast live on location during the week of the Games, highlighting events, athletes and celebrating Indigenous cultures.

Follow the Weather Network and Toronto 2017 NAIG on social media for up to the minute event and weather information during the Games.

#3. April 19 Marked 88 Days to Toronto 2017 NAIG and the Official Launch of Legacy Campaign #Team88…

Mayor John Tory officially proclaimed April 19, 2017 Team 88 day in the City of Toronto in front of a crowd at Nathan Phillips Square, as the Toronto 2017 NAIG marked the 88 day countdown to the Games.

Representatives from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous leadership were in attendance as students and other spectators were treated to various live Indigenous performances, and craft displays.

Forecasted rainy weather held off as students had fun engaging in various sport activation stations that were set up inside the square. Basketball, soccer and lacrosse stations were run by pros of the sport including Toronto 2017 Ambassador Cody Jamieson of the National Lacrosse League’s Rochester Knighthawks and Mekwan Tulpin, member of the Canadian women’s national lacrosse team.

An integral part of the Toronto 2017 legacy campaign, Team 88 represents the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action number 88, which calls on all levels of government to take action to ensure long-term Indigenous athlete development and growth through continued support of the North American Indigenous Games.

Download and share your support for Team 88… 

The official Team 88 patch was also unveiled on this milestone #Team88 day as a symbol of the commitment to raising awareness and increasing opportunity for Indigenous youth. Supporters of the Games and the Team 88 initiative are invited to display and share the patch on their social media accounts in support of the movement towards reconciliation.

#4. Celebrating Indigenous athlete success and reconciliation in the City of Toronto. #Team88 Athlete profile banners are on display at Toronto City Hall...

Also part of the celebration, large scale #Team 88 athlete profile banners were unveiled in the City Hall Rotunda. Patrons are able to visit the display from now until the end of the Games to learn the stories of just a few of the many Indigenous athletes making a difference in their communities.

#5. There’s still time to join the Largest Indigenous Sport and Cultural Gathering in North America! Volunteer Recruitment is underway…

Interested in joining #Team88? A world-class event cannot happen without thousands of helping hands and a community of dedicated volunteers. With a variety of roles, venues and responsibilities, the Toronto 2017 NAIG volunteer team provides meaningful opportunities for all to become involved in building a legacy of brighter futures for Indigenous youth and communities across Turtle Island. Join the movement, join a community and experience the unifying power of sport and culture.

Join more than 2,000 volunteers for eight days of exhilarating sport competition and celebration of Indigenous heritage. Join #Team88 in a few easy steps by visiting the Official Toronto 2017 NAIG Volunteer Portal here.


Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Parambir Keila

According to Toronto 2017 North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Parambir Keila, “diversity is the spice of life,” and given his track record he doesn’t need a second opinion.

A member of the Sikh community in Toronto, Keila says he is thrilled to be serving in the largely volunteer role at this summer’s Games that will showcase athletes from Indigenous groups across North America.

“I think the dialogue that we’re having as a nation about the role of Indigenous Canadians is really quite important,” said Keila. “I think that it’s important for any group that’s not the main stream group to have role models and be able to see themselves in a positive light.”
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We have official Toronto 2017 NAIG posters ready for you to download, print and share! Click here to access the print ready PDF and web files.



Missed the 88 Days Out Celebration? Download, share & view official event photos via the Toronto 2017 NAIG Photo Gallery.

Want to be part of the Indigenous Marketplace?

Join the celebration of Indigenous heritage and culture July 17 - 21! Vendor applications are now live and can be access via the Toronto 2017 NAIG website.

On April 19 we celebrated 88 Days to Toronto 2017 NAIG! 

Watch event highlights via the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation video, linked above.


The Toronto 2017 NAIG Host Society is honoured to host friends and family of the 2017 North American Indigenous Games this coming July. Family members of Toronto 2017 NAIG participants and friends of the Games can enjoy a discounted rate while pre-booking hotel accommodations prior to arrival in Toronto.



Toronto 2017 NAIG Host Society honours the traditional lands and homelands on which the 2017 North American Indigenous Games will take place. We honour and thank the Huron-Wendat Nation, Metis Nation of Ontario, Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation and Six Nations of the Grand River as our community partners and traditional inhabitants of the lands of the City of Toronto, Region of Hamilton, Durham Region and surrounding areas.

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