The opening ceremony for the World Indigenous Nations Games was photographed by Windpseaker.com photographer Sandra Crowfoot.
The event kicked off at Bear Park at Ermineskin Cree Nation on July 3. The games themselves, and other events associated with the WIN Games are held at Enoch Cree Nation until July 9.
Confederacy of Treaty Six First Nations Grand Chief Willie Littlechild welcomed all the delegates to the territory and into the arbor for introductions. And then, standing with the chiefs of Treaty 6, led the grand entry.
Treaty 6 chiefs in attendance were Chief Darrell Strongman (Montana), Chief Randy Ermineskin (Ermineskin), Chief Irvin Bull (Louis Bull), Chief William Morin (Enoch), Chief Tony Alexis (Alexis Nakota Sioux), and Grand Chief Wilton Littlechild.
Invited guest and dignitaries, including Carolyn Bennett, minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, and Alberta Minister of Indigenous Relations Richard Feehan, followed before the delegations of athletes were introduced.
Among the delegations were Ethiopia, New Zealand, Centra America, Panama, the United States and Canada.
Shining Eagle Drum Group and Kaskitew Muskwa drum group provided the drum songs. The Maskwacis dancers performed on the perimeter of the arbor.
Emcees for the ceremony were Waneek Horn Miller and Temryss Lane. Christine Hollingsworth performed ‘O Canada’ in Cree. Terry Anne Strongarm performed the American national anthem. Stephanie Harpe performed the WIN Games Song.
Special guest performances came from women’s group Asani, and Murray Porter. Speakers were Cara Currie Hall and Carlos Amastha, Mayor of the Brazilian municipality of Palmas, where the inaugural World Indigenous Nations Games were held.
Amastha presented Grand Chief Littlechild with a ceremonial sword from the WIN Games in 2015 held in Brazil. It is intended that the sword will be passed on to future hosts of the WIN Games.
Marcos Terena, International Articulator of the World Indigenous Games, brought with him soil from Palmas, Brazil, and through ceremony put some of it in the arbor, connecting the land of Brazil with Canada. And then he, Littlechild and Head Elder Lorna Arcand also took some of the soil from Brazil and put it in the arbor.
Before the games were official opened, Davina Williams took the oath of the athletes on behalf of all the participants, and Dano Thorne took the coaches’ oath.
Then Grand Chief Littlechild declared the WIN Games open, to a huge round of applause.
The Logan Alexis Singers performed as delegations were invited to do a Round Dance to celebrate the official opening of the 2017 World Indigenous Nations Games.
View more on the WIN Games at:
Once in a lifetime opportunity: http://www.windspeaker.com/news/windspeaker-news/world-indigenous-games-a-once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity-for-spectators/