News & Events

NAIG 2023 Medal Design

January 18, 2023

MILLBROOK, N.S. - The 2023 North American Indigenous Games Host Society officially unveiled the medal designs of the 2023 Games at an event in Millbrook First Nation, N.S. The medals, initially designed by Hardwoodlands youth Ella Scothorn and finalized by Mi'kmaw artist Tayla Fern Paul, were revealed at an event that featured Indigenous artists and dancers that recognized the six-month mark to the Games. More than 100 design submissions were received in an open design competition. Nearly 3,000 gold, silver and bronze medals will be awarded during the Games.

The medals, which will be produced by The Pin People, showcase Mi'kmaq art including a traditional eight pointed star and highlights the vibrant colours of NAIG 2023. The design of the medals incorporate several Mi'kmaq symbols:

  • An eight pointed star inspired by Mi'kmaq petroglyphs found in Bedford, N.S. represents the territory where all will gather
  • A symbol that represents the world "L'nu". The term the Mi'kmaq use to describe themselves as Indigenous people. It means "the people."
  • The curved designs are common in Mi'kmaw cultural drawings and etchings and are meant to represent the things that grow and transpire when you follow your dreams.
  • The ribbon features the NAIG 2023 logo and "Kjipuktuk," meaning "Great Harbour"

"We have reached 2023, the year of the Games and we are now officially six months out from the start of the Games. We're proud of these young artists for designing these medals that will be awarded to the winning athletes in July," said George "Tex" Marshall, president of the 2023 NAIG Host Society. "The design truly captures the spirit of the Games and Mi'kma'ki as a whole."

"It makes me feel really proud and excited to see my designs come to life," said designer Ella Scothorn, who created the initial design in 6th grade, and is now in 9th grade. "I was inspired by the Mi'kmaq star and its significance within Indigenous culture."

"The determination for cultural excellence is the inspiration for the 2023 medal design," said Tayla Fern Paul, who adapted the initial design by Scothorn.

"The medals on display today make us so proud of our community, our youth and our athletes," said Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade. "Our community is proud to play a part in the hosting of NAIG and we know it will be a historic event that will shape the future of Indigenous youth and athletes in Mi'kma'ki forever."

The 2023 North American Indigenous Games will be the largest multi-sport event held in Nova Scotia since contact. From July 15 to 23, 2023, more than 5,250 athletes, coaches and officials from over 750 Nations from across Turtle Island will participate in more than 16 sports, attracting thousands of visitors, VIPs, officials and media.

Quick Facts:

  • Millbrook First Nation will host the 3D archery competition of the 2023 North American Indigenous Games.
  • The medals will be produced by The Pin People, who were the winning bidder of the medal request for proposals awarded in the fall of 2022.
  • The medal design competition was run in schools, received over 100 submissions and the winner was voted on by a Culture Advisory Committee.
  • NAIG 2023 will mark the 10th edition of the Games.
  • The NAIG 2023 Host Society is looking for 3,000 people to share in the excitement of delivering the Games in July 2023. Volunteers will be screened and asked to commit at least three shifts or a total of 18 hours over the Games period. Interested people can apply online at
  • The Games are supported by the Government of Canada, the Government of Nova Scotia and the Halifax Regional Municipality.

Read More News

Unite Interactive