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Alaska’s Native Youth Olympics offer nest for indigenous values

Neither game nor sport, an annual tournament particular to Alaska builds on the subsistence traditions of whalers, seal hunters and life in the high north

More than 500 kids convened in Anchorage this weekend for the 45th annual Native Youth Olympics. They came from all the corners and crevices of America’s largest state, stitched together by dint of history and commerce, from Unalaska in the Aleutian chain, the Arctic shore-ice of Barrow, the river villages of the Kuskokwim where it meets the Bering Sea, and for the first time in decades from abroad. A small delegation from White Horse in Canada’s Yukon Territory gave an international accent to an event that is, by nature of Alaska’s patchwork of native cultures, already cosmopolitan.

NYO is the tournament-style home to a competition comprised of 10 events, with different ones occasionally swapped in and out from year to year. It’s the younger sibling to the adult World Eskimo-Indian Olympics and Arctic Winter Games, with many of the seventh-12th graders from NYO graduating into a community of athletes ringing around the circumpolar North.

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Alaska’s Native Youth Olympics offer nest for indigenous values

Neither game nor sport, an annual tournament particular to Alaska builds on the subsistence traditions of whalers, seal hunters and life in the high north

More than 500 kids convened in Anchorage this weekend for the 45th annual Native Youth Olympics. They came from all the corners and crevices of America’s largest state, stitched together by dint of history and commerce, from Unalaska in the Aleutian chain, the Arctic shore-ice of Barrow, the river villages of the Kuskokwim where it meets the Bering Sea, and for the first time in decades from abroad. A small delegation from White Horse in Canada’s Yukon Territory gave an international accent to an event that is, by nature of Alaska’s patchwork of native cultures, already cosmopolitan.

NYO is the tournament-style home to a competition comprised of 10 events, with different ones occasionally swapped in and out from year to year. It’s the younger sibling to the adult World Eskimo-Indian Olympics and Arctic Winter Games, with many of the seventh-12th graders from NYO graduating into a community of athletes ringing around the circumpolar North.

Continue reading...

About the Author

Comments are closed.