Today marks the official opening of the 2023 Arctic Winter Games. This year, the Games will be hosted in Wood Buffalo, Alberta, on Treaty 8 Territory, which is the ancestral and traditional land of the Cree, Dene and Métis peoples.
An international contingent of 2,100 athletes, coaches, mission staff, officials and artists from five Canadian jurisdictions (Yukon, Northwest Territories, Northern Alberta, Nunavut, and Nunavik), Alaska (United States), Greenland and the Sami region (Finland, Sweden and Norway) will take part in the Games.
Held in a circumpolar country every two years, the Arctic Winter Games are a multisport competition for northern circumpolar athletes and a cultural celebration. The Games remain an important showcase for unity and teamwork between First Nations, Inuit, Métis and non-Indigenous communities.
The Arctic Winter Games’ mission is to promote athletic competition, culture and reconciliation. One of the Games’ highlights will be the Cultural Gala featuring young northern performers specializing in music, theatre and dance. Organizers have also created a Truth and Reconciliation pin, which combines the Seven Sacred Teachings symbols, and moccasins that represent walking the path toward reconciliation.
The Government of Canada, through Sport Canada, is proud to invest $2.5 million in the Arctic Winter Games, one of the largest and most important sport and cultural events in the circumpolar north. A total of 20 sports will be held at 13 venues across the regional municipality. The Games will leave lasting legacies in the region and participating communities.
Let’s celebrate all the athletes, artists and performers from across the circumpolar north who are sources of inspiration. To everyone taking part, we wish you good luck! Miyopayowin! Nel sughuá walé!