It is a first for the City of Regina and a first for the North American Indigenous Games. Today, the games’ flag was raised in front of Regina City Hall and this has been proclaimed North American Indigenous Games Week.

Regina is the first host city to commemorate the games with an official flag raising.

Regina Mayor Michael Fougere says it signifies a partnership with the Indigenous community.

He says the games will bring a lot of spin off benefits to the city and it is a huge sporting event.

However, Fougere says the games are about much more than just these things.

“This is a coming together of different cultures, of different traditions from Indigenous people from across North America,” he says. “So, this is very unique for us, we have not seen this before, so we want to showcase this and say this is North America Indigenous Games Week and one year from now we will have the games and we are very pleased about that.”

The games are the largest Indigenous cultural and sporting event in North America.

Host committee CEO Glen Pratt says the City of Regina has been a great partner right from the beginning.

“I would say they are one of our best partners, they bring so much to the table in terms of the venues, their support and obviously allowing us to do an historic event with them today speaks volumes about our partnership with the city of Regina,” he says.

Regina will host athletes from 26 regions who will compete in 15 different sports.

The theme for the 2014 games is “Raising the Bar.”

The games will be held from July 20-27 next year.

More than 5,000 athletes will compete and more than 3,000 volunteers will be needed to help host the week-long event.