Chief Ron Sam (second from left) stands with Gavin, Nathan and Josh Sam, who played lacrosse for Team B.C. in the 2017 Games in Toronto. Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS

Chief Ron Sam (second from left) stands with Gavin, Nathan and Josh Sam, who played lacrosse for Team B.C. in the 2017 Games in Toronto. Lauren Boothby/VICTORIA NEWS

Victoria loses bid to host 2020 North American Indigenous Games

Songhees Nation Chief Ron Sam says there is disappointment, but honoured to have been considered

After bidding to host the 2020 North American Indigenous Games in Greater Victoria, the Songhees Nation learned today the Games will be held in Halifax.

Choosing the Nova Scotia city signifies the first time the Games will be held in Eastern Canada; in 1997 the Games were held in Victoria and in 2008, in Cowichan.

RELATED: Songhees Nation officially bids to host 2020 North American Indigenous Games

In a statement, Chief Ron Sam congratulated Halifax, wishing them success, noting Victoria faced three strong bids from the maritime city as well as Ottawa and Winnipeg.

“While disappointed, we are truly honoured to have been part of this process that saw unprecedented support from across cultures and across the region,” Sam said. “Working together, we presented a strong message of meaningful reconciliation not only to the NAIG Council, but also to our youth.”

RELATED: B.C. supports 2020 North American Indigenous Games bid

In 2017, the Songhees Nation sent seven athletes to the Indigenous Games in Toronto, bringing home three gold medals, and one bronze, as part of Team B.C.

Last month, the province announced it would contribute $3.5 million in funding for the Games; the City of Victoria also pledged $440,000 in the event the bid was successful.

“We thank the government of British Columbia for their confidence and pledged commitment – and we thank all of the local governments, and our partner organizations who stepped forward to walk with us,” Sam said.

“We remain committed to this important journey of reconciliation and to creating a future of equal opportunity and prosperity for our young people,” he added.

kristyn.anthony@vicnews.com