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​​Nova Scotia Communities Ready to Celebrate NAIG 2023 Canoe Relay

KJIPUKTUK (HALIFAX) – Fourteen Nova Scotia communities will host celebrations beginning next week as a lead-up to the 2023 North American Indigenous Games.

Canoe Relay events kick off starting May 1 at Acadia First Nation, engaging local residents and recognizing the athletes of Team Mi’kmaw Nova Scotia with a community celebration. The Canoe Relay will visit 13 Mi’kmaq communities across Nova Scotia, and then wrap up in Kjipuktuk (Halifax) on July 7. The Canoe Relay is proudly supported by RBC and with the assistance of the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority.

“The Canoe Relay is a unique opportunity to connect Mi’kmaq communities to the Games,” said Fiona Kirkpatrick Parsons, Board Chair, 2023 North American Indigenous Games Host Society. “We’re very proud to partner with RBC to help bring the Canoe Relay to communities. Everyone across Nova Scotia is welcome to join in on these community gatherings and help build excitement and pride as we get closer to the Games.”

The Mi’kmaq regularly traveled great distances along the waterways of the Maritimes and depended on the canoe for transportation; it’s why the canoe is featured prominently in the Games logo. To recognize that connection, each stop will feature the official NAIG 2023 canoe, a traditional, 19-foot Mi’kmaq birch bark canoe, built by Todd Labrador, Melissa Labrador and family. Activities will also include a community celebration, cultural activities and demonstrations.

“Sport and culture are powerful tools that not only inspire and empower youth but bring communities together. That’s why RBC is thrilled to be a sponsor of this year’s North American Indigenous Games and the Canoe Relay,” said Vinita Savani, RBC’s Regional President, Atlantic Provinces. “The Canoe Relay will ignite a spark that will excite those it reaches, creating a unique opportunity for communities across Nova Scotia to share in this once-of-a-lifetime experience. We’re proud to support an event that highlights the achievements of Indigenous athletes and the cultures of Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island, and we’re delighted to be able to do so here in our province of Nova Scotia.”

“We are grateful to be supporters of the Canoe Relay and we’re excited to join the journey to the Games,” said Carl Yates, Interim CEO for the Atlantic First Nations Water Authority. “By visiting the First Nations communities in Nova Scotia, we get to share our excitement with the athletes and communities as we countdown to the Games.”

The Canoe Relay events are open to the public and will make stops in the following communities:

Date and TimeCommunityLocation
May 1, 1:00 PMAcadia First NationWildcat Community Hall1059 Molega Rd.Queens County, NS
May 2, 1:00 PMAcadia First NationGold River311 Beech Hill Rd.Chester Basin, NS
May 5, 11:00 AMBear River First Nation1277 River Rd.Bear River, NS
May 12, 5:00 PMAnnapolis Valley First NationWildcat Community Hall1059 Molega Rd.Queens County, NS
May 13, 11:00 AMGlooscap First NationGold River311 Beech Hill Rd.Chester Basin, NS
May 18, 10:30 AMMembertou First Nation399 Churchill Dr.Sydney, NS
May 19, 4:00 PMEskasoni First NationEskasoni Fisheries4115 Shore Rd.Eskasoni, NS
May 31, 10:00 AMWagmatcook & We’koqma’qSkye River TrailWe’koqma’q First Nation
May 31, 4:00 PMWagmatcook & We’koqma’q57 Fishery Rd.Wagmatcook First Nation
June 1, 1:00 PMPotlotek First Nation (Chapel Island)21 Old Band Office Rd.Saint Peter’s, NS
June 16Paqntkek First NationWelneg Landing Site
June 17Pictou Landing43 Beach RoadTrenton, NS
June 28, 1:00 P.M.Millbrook First Nation15 John B Trail, MillbrookPow Wow Grounds
June 30, 12:00 P.M.Sipekne’katik47 Indian School Road, Shubenacadie, NS
July 7KjipuktukMi’kmaw Native Friendship Centre

To learn more about the 2023 NAIG Canoe Relay route and community celebrations, visit

Quick Facts

●  Todd Labrador is a respected and celebrated traditional Mi’kmaw canoe builder.

●  The 2023 North American Indigenous Games is welcoming over 5,000 athletes including 756 Nations from all over Turtle Island, also known as North America.

●  The 2023 North American Indigenous Games will be the largest sport and culture event to be hosted in Atlantic Canada, since contact.

●  The Host Society is recruiting over 3,000 volunteers to help bring the Games to life.

Additional Resources

NAIG 2023 –


Atlantic First Nations Water Authority –

For more information:

Zane Sylliboy

Media and Communications Coordinator

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