The Government of Canada Announces Funding to the 2021 Canada Summer Games Host Society and the Canada Games Council to add lacrosse at the 2021 Canada Summer Games in Niagara
ST. CATHARINES, ON, April 11, 2019 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport, announced that the Government of Canada will provide up to $1.7 million to add box lacrosse to the 2021 Canada Summer Games that will take place in Niagara Region, Ontario.
The funding announced today will be divided between the Canada Games Council and the 2021 Canada Games Host Society. The contribution will help accommodate the inclusion of box lacrosse, on a pilot-project basis, at the 2021 Canada Summer Games. This pilot project is aimed to increase Indigenous participation at the Canada Games and will provide an opportunity to examine the impact of the initiative on Indigenous sport development.
Lacrosse is the oldest organized sport in North America and has been played by Indigenous Peoples for centuries. It is Canada's summer national sport and represents a significant contribution of Indigenous culture to modern Canadian society.
The Canada Games play an important role in developing young Canadian athletes for podium success on the international stage and provide future members of Canada's national teams with valuable training and competition experience. By including box lacrosse at the 2021 Canada Games, it will enhance the opportunity for Indigenous lacrosse players to progress at a higher level of competition.
"The addition of box lacrosse at the 2021 Canada Games in Niagara is a major milestone in the promotion of Indigenous sport development. Young people will get the opportunity to showcase their athletic abilities and celebrate the heritage of this historical sport, while taking part in a wonderful sporting event that brings together athletes from all over the country."
—The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Sport
"Adding a culturally vital sport like lacrosse to the Canada Games sport program is just one way we can contribute to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action related to sport. We are grateful for the government's continued support and look forward to working with our partners across the country to implement this exciting pilot project."
—Evan Johnston, Chair of Canada Games Council Board of Directors
"We are elated that Canada's national summer sport has been included in the 2021 Canada Games. Niagara has long been a centre for lacrosse, and we look forward to celebrating this with our Indigenous community. The lacrosse facilities planned at our proposed Canada Games Park will help ensure that we provide a critical and lasting legacy for lacrosse."
—Doug Hamilton, Chair, 2021 Canada Games Host Society
"The Canadian Lacrosse Association is excited that lacrosse, Canada's national summer sport, will be included in the 2021 Canada Summer Games. The CLA and its member associations are proud to showcase the game our Indigenous people gave to us—the Creators game, the healing game. We would like to thank Sport Canada for their continued support."
—Joey Harris, President, Canadian Lacrosse Association
"The inclusion of lacrosse as a pilot project in the 2021 Canada Summer Games is an important step forward in Canada's reconciliation efforts. It acknowledges the important role that lacrosse has played in Canada's history, and brings attention to the central place of Indigenous people in that story. It also signals to us a system that is more willing to engage in meaningful discussions about how to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Calls to Action in the sport sector."
—Janice Forsyth, Aboriginal Sport Circle
On October 1, 2018, in a letter to Minister Duncan, the Canada Games Council recommended principles to implement the inclusion of lacrosse at the 2021 Canada Summer Games.
Indigenous people played lacrosse all over the country more than 500 years ago. Lacrosse had many important functions in and between Indigenous communities—honouring the gods, resolving disputes, negotiating and trading, welcoming, and healing—and it was also played just for fun.
Box lacrosse was developed in the 1930s to capitalize on the familiar winter venue of indoor rinks. Hockey and lacrosse were combined to create indoor lacrosse, also known as box lacrosse or boxla.
In 1994, Parliament made lacrosse the official summer sport of Canada.
The 150th anniversary of lacrosse was celebrated in 2017. It helped honour and celebrate the history and cultural significance of Canada's national summer sport.
SOURCE Canadian Heritage
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