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Games teach on-the-land survival skills

Peyton Catholique from Mildred Hall School in Yellowknife earned the top overall time of 2:34 (male and female) in the Wrist Hang event.   Crystal Catholique

Nineteen school teams from across the Northwest Territories competed in the Traditional Games Championships this year during March and April. 

The Team from William McDonald Middle School in Yellowknife came in second place with 25 points. Front Row L to R: Peter Staples, Calen Knight, Journey Bergman, Mya Paul. Back Row L to R: Nyah Morin, Haley Sauve, Wesley Lizotte, Logan Lizotte, Dante Almond. Wesley Lizotte came in first in both the Triple Jump and One-Foot-High Kick.   Darren Wicks, Coach
Junior Traditional Team 2021 Champions from  cole St. Joseph School ( SJS) in Yellowknife, NWT.   Tamara Statchook

Youth between the ages of 10 and 12 competed in the One‐Foot‐High Kick, Wrist Hang, Triple Jump, Stick Pull, Snow Snake and the recently introduced Snowshoe Race. All traditional game events are based on going on the land and the hunting, trapping, and fishing skills necessary for survival. For example, the Stick Pull is a greased pole that represents pulling a slippery fish out of the water. The One‐Foot‐High Kick is a game traditionally played by Inuit to develop skills to deal with the different types of land conditions they had to face during hunting seasons. Hunters had to be quiet, fast, and agile to have successful hunts to provide for their families. The Snow Snake event dates back more than 500 years and was originally a form of communication between Dene villages. Over the years and long winters, throwing “snow snakes” developed into a competitive sport between different communities after the men returned from the annual hunt. 

 SJS Junior Traditional Team Members (and cousins). L to R: Nolan Dusome and James Taylor. James placed first in the Stick Pull event, third in the Triple Jump, and second in the One-Foot-High Kick. Nolan tied second with James in the One-Foot-High Kick.   Tamara Statchook

The Team from École St. Joseph School in Yellowknife won the Championships with an overall score of 26 points. Students found the events fun and challenging. 

Students did not travel this year to compete in the Games but participated at their home schools and results were tallied online. 

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