2019 TRADITIONAL GAMES TO KICK OFF THIS WEEK
Event marks first time region to hold statewide indigenous sports event
March 13, 2019
Local athletes will vie to qualify for Team Juneau to compete in the statewide Native Youth Olympics Games Alaska (NYO), scheduled April 25-27 in Anchorage. The games are based on ancient hunting and survival skills that allowed Indigenous people to survive and thrive in the harsh conditions of Alaska and across the Arctic.
Ten athletes from the 2018 Traditional Games qualified to compete at state, where the athletes set new personal records and team mate Derrick Roberts took third place in the Eskimo Stick Pull.
In December, Team Juneau went on to compete at the Yukon Arctic Sports Championship in Whitehorse, Canada, and took home 13 medals and both the men’s and women’s 10th-12th grades sportsmanship awards.
Athletes will compete in ten events, including the Scissor Broad Jump, Kneel Jump, Wrist Carry, One Foot High Kick and Dene Stick Pull on Saturday, March 16, and the Inuit Stick Pull, Two Foot High Kick, One Hand Reach, Alaska High Kick and the Seal Hop on Sunday, March 17. Coaches will include Worl and Kaytlynne Lewis.
The opening ceremony will feature music by DJ Celeste Worl and a blanket toss, a rarity in Southeast Alaska. Tlingit rapper Arias Hoyle will perform his song Ix?six?án, Ax? ?wáan on Saturday morning and debut a new music video at the NYO Celebration, scheduled the evening of March 16 at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall. The dance group Woosh.ji.een will perform Sunday morning.
?The Native Youth Olympics is a statewide sport that includes 10 different events or games to test skills of strength, agility, balance, endurance and focus. These games are based on hunting and survival skills of the Indigenous people of Alaska and across the Arctic going back hundreds of years. Each year, teams of high school and middle school athletes from across the state travel to Anchorage to take part in the Sr. Native Youth Olympics. More than 500 athletes from more than 100 communities, split into male and female divisions, compete for 1st-5th place medals in the 10 events. Athletes strive to perform at their personal best while helping and supporting their fellow competitors, no matter what team. This is the spirit of the games, to work together toward common goals and learn from the skills and values that allowed Alaska Native people to survive and thrive in some of the harshest conditions. Native Youth Olympics is produced by Cook Inlet Tribal Council.
The Traditional Games and Juneau’s NYO team are a community collaboration made possible by the following major sponsors: Sealaska Heritage, Sealaska, University of Alaska Southeast and Central Council of Tlingit and Haida. Additional sponsors include SEARHC, McGivney’s Sports Bar and Grill, Trickster Company, Juneau Community Council Tlingit & Haida, Alaska Club, Alaska Native Sisterhood and Alaska Native Brotherhood. Partners include the Juneau School District, Indian Studies Program, Goldbelt Heritage, Zach Gordon Youth Center BAM (After-School Activities) program and UAS Wooch Een Club.
Editing by Mary Kauffman, SitNews
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