FREDERICTON (GNB) – The Eel Ground First Nation is hosting the 2016 New Brunswick Indian Summer Games, which start today until Aug. 1.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for athletes from First Nation communities in New Brunswick to come together through sport,” said Service New Brunswick Minister Ed Doherty, who is also minister responsible for Aboriginal Affairs. “I wish all the athletes and coaches the best of luck. I am confident that you will return to your communities with many great memories of this year’s games.”

The provincial government is providing $20,000 in funding for the event.

Between 700 and 900 athletes from 11 Mi’kmaq and Wolastoq (Maliseet) communities across the province are expected to compete in a variety of sports over the five-day event.

“I encourage all New Brunswickers to attend the sporting events and join in the celebrations in beautiful Miramichi and Eel Ground First Nation,” said Doherty.

The games are also an opportunity to celebrate aboriginal culture and heritage as there will be a parade of athletes, shawl dancers and drumming groups at the opening ceremonies.