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Sheila North congratulates historic Commonwealth Games Declaration on Reconciliation and Partnership

Press Release - November 17th, 2023

Sheila North congratulates historic Commonwealth Games Declaration

On Reconciliation and Partnership with Indigenous Peoples

November 17, 2023 – Winnipeg, MB - Candidate for National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, Sheila North recognizes the power of sport and congratulates the Commonwealth Games Federation on The Declaration on Truth, Reconciliation and Partnership with Indigenous Peoples.

“The Commonwealth Games Federation declaration means Indigenous athletes and Indigenous games will enjoy the same chance for sponsorship to showcase traditional Indigenous games and sports as other athletes do. The world will have the opportunity to cheer on new competitions that celebrate our Indigenous cultures,” said North from Winnipeg.

The declaration reflects the Commonwealth’s commitment to the issues of truth and reconciliation in its relationship with Indigenous Peoples. It also demonstrates the Commonwealth’s support for the cultural heritage and experiences of Indigenous youth.

“This recognition by the Commonwealth Federation promises to boost the power of sport in our Indigenous communities and attract more of our youth into engaging in traditional competition,” added North. “The declaration also reflects the extensive work that has been conducted over many decades with leadership around the world. Both Indigenous Peoples and friends and allies worked together to ensure the power and love of sport could be expanded in this way. There are many people to thank for advancing this initiative.”

“Chief Ava Hill is foremost among those who worked hard for this international recognition. Her presentation this week in Singapore was the final touch on years of work to have this declaration accepted and it was in fact acclaimed by the Commonwealth Games Federation,” added North.

Chief Hill is a former elected chief of the Six Nations Elected Council with extensive experience working with First Nations and Indigenous organizations in Canada. She is a tireless warrior in her support of promoting sports for all Indigenous Peoples, but particularly the Youth and the North American Indigenous Games.

Chief Hill is also co-chair for the Commonwealth Games International Working Group that developed the Declaration.

“Chief Hill carried this declaration across the finish line with the help of another respected First Nations leader, Maskwacis elder and Member of the Order of Canada, Wilton Littlechild. Chief Littlechild’s expertise in international Indigenous forums is well recognized as is his advocacy for the power of sport.” commented Maskwacis member Cara Currie Hall, who was recently inducted into the 2023 Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and is a recognized International Builder of Sports who has helped Revolutionize Sports in Canada and around the world.

The declaration incorporates 10 specific calls to action to the countries in the Commonwealth. They include the promotion of physical, cultural, spiritual and mental well-being, supporting sustainable sports policies and programs, integrating coaching and mentorship for Indigenous youth, and integrating Indigenous sports into schools and communities.

The Commonwealth declaration is one of three Indigenous sports advances in recent months. The International Olympic Committee has opened the Olympic Games to one of the most competitive sports in the Indigenous world with its decision to give official recognition to the Creator’s Game of Lacrosse at the 2028 Olympics which will be held in Los Angeles.

Lacrosse is one of the oldest organized team sports in the world, and it has thrived thanks to the Mohawk Nation. “The IOC made this decision after extensive lobbying and recognition by Maskwacis leadership, WIN Sport and the Haudenosaunee through Chief Oren Lyons and Chief Wilton Littlechild,” mentioned North.

Canada’s Premier Canadian Native Fastball Championships are also enjoying some well-deserved attention, in that Softball is also now an Olympic Medal Sport. The premiere event brings together well over 60 First Nations/Metis teams from across Canada to compete each year.

“Our nations have always celebrated our traditional cultural sports and games and we recognize the power of sport to help our youth grow into responsible members of society. We have many leaders to thank for these achievements that recognize our Peoples contributions to the national and the international world of sport,” North concluded.

About National Chief Candidate Sheila North

Grand Chief Sheila North ---Wikahsho Iskwew--- is a Cree Leader, Politician, Policy Advocate, Author, Journalist and Broadcaster from Bunibonibee Cree Nation in the Treaty 5 Territory in Manitoba. She formerly served as Grand Chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO). She was elected in 2015 as the first woman to hold the position.

Grand Chief North is a lifelong activist for the Inherent, Treaty, Title and Human Rights of First Nations Peoples. She is currently running in the election for National Chief, to be held at the AFN Special Chiefs Assembly in Ottawa Dec. 5-7, 2023.

For more information, please contact:

Alexandra Paul

(204) 801-0773


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