Various North American Indigenous sport championships will be held in 2012 to pick up the slack of the cancelled 2011North American Indigenous Games.
Hope that groups from Saskatchewan or California may step up to the plate to save the 2011 NAIG was dashed when neither group made formal bid presentations in Winnipeg when the NAIG council met Aug. 11-14 to see about the future of next year’s games.
Wisconsin officials announced in June they were withdrawing as NAIG hosts due to financial hardships.
As many as 15 championships will be held in 2012, one for each sport that would have been offered at NAIG. The Aboriginal Sport Circle, the governing body for Aboriginal sports in Canada, will be in charge of organizing these events.
The ASC is expected to start seeking submission bids from cities interested in hosting the various sport championships by late September, with the winning cities to be announced by the end of this year.
“I think it’s better than nothing,” said Bruce Littlechild, who was scheduled to be Alberta’s chef de mission for next year’s NAIG.
Littlechild would like to see Alberta officials submit bids to host some of NAIG’s most popular sports such as basketball, fastball, volleyball, golf and athletics (track and field and cross-country running).
It is up to the Indigenous Sports Council of Alberta to decide on bid submissions, but as of late August, the group did not have any upcoming board meetings scheduled.
Littlechild added there had been some talk that athletes in Alberta would be invited to compete in Aboriginal Summer Games that are held annually in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
There’s also a chance Alberta athletes will have a competition to go to in their own province.
“Alberta has not had (their own Aboriginal Summer Games) in a long time,” Littlechild said. “But we’re looking to start that process.”
Littlechild is hoping such an event comes to fruition and becomes a mainstay on the athletic calendar.
“It would be nice to have it every year,” he said.
Looking ahead, Alberta officials are expected to submit a bid to host the 2014 NAIG.
Besides Alberta, representatives from Ontario, Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia have also expressed interest in landing those games.
The 2014 host city is expected to be announced sometime in 2011, at one of the two scheduled NAIG council meetings.