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athletes from around the world join hands in a rounddance at the closing ceremonies of the World Indigenous Nations Games on Treaty Six territory on Sunday. (Emilio Avalos/CBC) A week of international competition among Indigenous athletes has come to a close in Alberta.

More than 1,500 hundred athletes representing all seven geopolitical regions of the world have been on Treaty Six territory near Edmonton competing in events, including: lacrosse, archery, soccer, swimming and canoeing.

When the second edition of the World Indigenous Nations Games opened on July 3, most of the athletes were strangers. At Sunday’s closing ceremonies, they looked like friends who had known each other for years.

Cori Arcand from Muskeg Lake in Saskatchewan, said that they’ve learned a lot about each other — and themselves.

He competed in javelin on Saturday. It was his first time throwing a spear.

"It gives me a chance to go back and learn about myself, where I came from as an Indigenous person," Arcand said.

"I think stuff like this is going to make young people, young First Nations people who have lost their way, realize there’s a reason that we should be proud of who we are." Bringing people together

Treaty Six Grand Chief Willie Littlechild is the founder of the games. He first broached the idea at the United Nations nearly 40 years ago.The inaugural event was held in Palmos, Brazil in 2015."The first one is always the hardest," Littlechild said. "The second one is to keep the momentum now that there’s interest." Treaty Six Grand Chief Willie Littlechild takes in the World Indigenous Nations Games closing ceremonies. (Emilio Avalos/CBC) More than 20,000 spectators took in sporting events in Maskwacis, the Enoch Cree First Nation, Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation and Paul First Nation. Among them were non-Indigenous people."That was one of […]

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