Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation pulls support for Canada Summer Games, citing ‘disrespect’

The Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation says it’s removing its name, logo and all other support for the Canada Summer Games set to be held in the Niagara region of Ontario next month, alleging “bullying” toward its staff and “disrespect” toward its youth.

“MCFN staff talked to me about it and are very shaken up,” Gimaa (Chief) Stacey Laforme told CBC Hamilton.

“I know the Canada Summer Games is a large event … and maybe reconciliation isn’t at the top of your mind, but then quit saying it is.”

The Canada Summer Games, from Aug. 6 to Aug. 21, will feature an anticipated 5,000 athletes competing in 18 sports. It’s the first time in 21 years the Games have been set for Ontario.

The organizers created an Indigenous Partnership Council with members of Niagara’s Indigenous communities (which included MCFN) to offer advice on all Indigenous matters related to the Games. This year is also the first time in 37 years lacrosse, a traditional Indigenous sport, will be part of the event.

That said, representatives for the Canada Summer Games didn’t offer a comment despite multiple requests from CBC Hamilton since Tuesday morning.

More Indigenous involvement sought 

Laforme said the First Nation takes issue with the organizers having a consultant co-ordinate Indigenous programming of the Games rather than having Indigenous communities lead programming efforts.

“Why wouldn’t you sign an agreement with the communities or organizations … I thought Canada Summer Games would know better,” he said.

Laforme said staff also faced disrespect. Without getting into specific detail, he said an MCFN staff member was “bullied” and not allowed to speak.

“Just the general tone of the discussion was very disrespectful,” he said.

He added that youth who were supposed to be part of the opening ceremonies were also disrespected. He didn’t offer any further explanation of what happened.

Laforme said Canada Summer Games made offers to fix the concerns, but added that MCFN staff members said too much damage has been done to move forward.

“I did not make a decision easily to pull out of the Games … but the team felt it was just too late for that,” he said.

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