'First time ever' reconciliation part of action plan for Arctic Winter Games

The 2020 Arctic Winter Games host society wants to mark the 50th anniversary of the event by demonstrating reconciliation as a goal of the games.

“We want to build partnerships with our First Nations,” said Nyla Klugie-Migwans, assistant vice president of community engagement for games. 

“We also want to be able to show that reconciliation is about having a role and responsibility in our community. And to bring together community.”

She says the Host Society wants Yukon First Nation languages, culture and traditions to be recognized at the event.

It will be the first time that reconciliation has been part of the action plan for the Arctic Winter Games.

Klugie-Migwans said a celebration will be held at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, which will include Indigenous performers.

Part of the AWG action plan is also to create three button blankets.

Three organisations will be gifted the 2020 Arctic Winter games button blankets during the Games. (Mike Rudyk CBC)

“We have the eagle feather, and we have the 50th anniversary logo because this year is the 50th year of the AWG, and we have the number 91, as part of the [Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s] call for action,” said Klugie-Migwans.

The 91st Call to Action is for major sporting events “to ensure that Indigenous peoples’ territorial protocols are respected, and local Indigenous communities are engaged in all aspects of planning and participating in such events.” 

Klugie-Migwans says the button blankets will not be used for ceremonial dancing but for display, adding the protocol sheets will go with the blankets.

“Our hope is that we want this to be kind of a legacy piece for the Arctic Winter Games,” she said. 

One of the blankets will be presented during the Games, the others at the closing ceremonies, though Klugie-Migwans said she can’t say who will be receiving them.

“It is very special to receive a blanket,” she said,

“It doesn’t matter if it’s a dance or if it’s something to use on the wall … but to get one is very special and ceremonial.”

The button blankets will not be used for ceremonial dancing but for display. (Mike Rudyk CBC )

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