The dream to hold Games for the Indigenous Peoples began in the 1970’s. In 1971, the Native Summer Games held in Enoch, Alberta drew 3,000 participants competing in 13 sports and many cultural events. In 1973, the Western Canada Native Winter Games were held on the Blood Reserve in Kainai, Alberta. In 1975, a meeting of the National Indian Athletic Association was held in Reno, Nevada, where it was decided to organize Games for Indigenous Peoples. John Fletcher, a Peigan from Edmonton, Alberta, and Willie Littlechild, a Cree of the Ermineskin Tribe at Hobbema, Alberta, attended; John Fletcher is credited for his support in the decision to have the Games, as presented by Mr. Littlechild, based on the above success. In 1977, the dream to host large scale Indigenous Games took another step forward in Sweden at the Annual Assembly of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. Willie Littlechild presented the motion to host International Indigenous Games. It was unanimously passed. A Brazilian elder was so moved, he presented Willie Lit Read More

The dream to hold Games for the Indigenous Peoples began in the 1970’s.

  • In 1971, the Native Summer Games held in Enoch, Alberta drew 3,000 participants competing in 13 sports and many cultural events.
  • In 1973, the Western Canada Native Winter Games were held on the Blood Reserve in Kainai, Alberta.
  • In 1975, a meeting of the National Indian Athletic Association was held in Reno, Nevada, where it was decided to organize Games for Indigenous Peoples. John Fletcher, a Peigan from Edmonton, Alberta, and Willie Littlechild, a Cree of the Ermineskin Tribe at Hobbema, Alberta, attended; John Fletcher is credited for his support in the decision to have the Games, as presented by Mr. Littlechild, based on the above success.
  • In 1977, the dream to host large scale Indigenous Games took another step forward in Sweden at the Annual Assembly of the World Council of Indigenous Peoples. Willie Littlechild presented the motion to host International Indigenous Games. It was unanimously passed. A Brazilian elder was so moved, he presented Willie Littlechild with a war arrow representing peace in his tribe. Advising it be pointed to the ground, this arrow would direct anything evil toward the underground. It is now part of the sacred ceremonial run.

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Willie Littlechild

Willie Littlechild, Honorary President

North American Indigenous Games Council, 1990
North American Indigenous Games Host Society 1990

© North American Indigenous Games Host Society 1990


The vision: To improve the quality of life for Indigenous Peoples by supporting self-determined sports and cultural activities which encourage equal access to participation in the social / cultural /spiritual fabric of the community in which they reside and which respects Indigenous distinctiveness.

The dream became a reality in 1990 with the first Games in Edmonton, Alberta…the vision continues…
The vision: To improve the quality of life for Indigenous Peoples by supporting self-determined sports and cultural activities which encourage equal access to participation in the social / cultural /spiritual fabric of the community in which they reside and which respects Indigenous distinctiveness.

The dream became a reality in 1990 with the first Games in Edmonton, Alberta…the vision continues…

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.

Charles Wood

Charles Wood, Founding Chairperson.

Photo: Charles Wood 1990

© Charles Wood 1990


Charles Wood, Founding Chairperson of the NAIG.

The vision of the NAIG, from the very beginning, along with my brothers, Willie Littlechild of Ermineskin First Nation at Hobbema, and Big John Fletcher of Peigan in Southern Alberta, was one of our interest and concern about what was happening among the young people in all of our communities. . . We took it upon ourselves to try and find something constructive for the young people to look forward to. And, what it was eventually, was that we would put together a plan for a Games through which the young Aboriginal people could come together to excel in their athletic field of endeavour and to come together to do other things: to make new friendships, to renew old ones, and so on. . ." (Charles Wood, 1990 Chairperson)

Conversations with Willie Littlechild and Charles Wood, March 2002

© 2002, CHIN. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:

  • Describe the origins of the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG)
  • Recognize the contributions of individuals to the NAIG
  • Understand the benefits of the NAIG to Aboriginal society

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