With a unanimous vote, Kamloops council approved a $10,000 contribution to support Tk’emlups te Secwepemc’s bid to host the 2027 North American Indigenous Games.
The City of Kamloops was asked to co-fund a selection committee site visit, which will happen in late April.
During Tuesday’s council meeting, Coun. Mike O’Reilly said he would support the motion, adding the opportunity to host the large event was made possible because of the community’s decision decades ago to build into the Tournament Capital vision.
"This is the largest sporting event — if not, I believe, the event — in the entire history of the City of Kamloops. I'm incredibly excited to do this, especially working with our partners across the river, TteS, and building on Recommendation 88 from Truth and Reconciliation [Calls to Action],” O’Reilly said.
“This is just so much more than what you're asking here today — this will tie our community and build that social fabric. That is not easy to do. And sport brings community together. So I'm very happy to support this today.”
Sean Smith, the city’s tournament capital and special events supervisor, told council recommendation 88 from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls for all levels of government to support the North American Indigenous Games as well as Indigenous athlete growth and development.
Smith said the city has already committed $500,000 of cash and in-kind support in the form of facilities and staff time for the 2027 games if TteS is named as the successful host community.
Smith said so far, he has received 26 letters and 40 verbal declarations from the local community in support of the bid to host the 2027 games.
“This would be the largest multi-sport and cultural event hosted in Canada and the United States, specifically targeted for Indigenous populations,” Smith said.
“The games will bring together more than 5,000 athletes — they are actually shooting for 6,000 athletes — plus family and friends, coaches and teams and staff from 750-plus Indigenous nations who will be getting together to celebrate, share and reconnect through sport and culture with the help of 3,000 volunteers.”
Tammy Robertson, the city's Indigenous and community relations manager, also spoke to council about the strong relationship between TteS and the City of Kamloops, which she said has been “catching the attention of communities across the country.”
“Whether we need to discuss partnership opportunities, cross-training, future utility needs or events such as the North American Indigenous Games, it is clear that we both want the best for our communities and for the greater good,” Robertson said.
She said city CAO David Trawin and the executive director of finance for TteS will be attending a local government conference to speak on the relationship between Tk'emlups and the City of Kamloops.
“It is our hope that by modelling the way, others will advance their efforts on reconciliation to make Canada a better place for all,” Robertson said.
The city’s $10,000 contribution will be funded from the community and protective services department’s Tournament Capital Services Special Bids budget. The funds will go towards the cost of flights, ground transportation and special event expenses for the selection committee.
According to the City of Kamloops, the successful host for the 2027 Indigenous Games will be announced later this year.
The TteS and Kamloops bid is the only bid from B.C., competing against Calgary and Saskatoon.