University of Alaska Southeast students practice Traditional Games to prepare for the Kick-Off Event on Nov. 19.
“Traditional Native Games were games that were to keep our hunters in the upper northern areas of Alaska fit and in shape,” said Kyle Abbott, President of the Traditional Games Club and an 18-year-old UAS freshman.
According to Abbott, the games would train hunters how to respond in certain hunting situations, but the games were also used to showcase a hunt’s success and just for fun.
Ten different types of games are played: Scissor Broad Jump, Kneel Jump, Two Foot Kick, Arm Pull, Dene Stick Pull, One Foot High Kick, Two Foot High Kick, Knuckle Hop, Inuit Stick Pull, and One Hand Reach. Each game falls into the categories of strength, endurance, and agility games.
The Traditional Games Club teaches and trains members how to play all of the games. Those interested in joining the club must attend one or both of the weekly practices. Practices are Wednesdays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
“I would highly recommend people show up. It’s just a really fun pastime. Learning something new may be kind of difficult and embarrassing at times,” Abbott said, “but it’s something, if you really dedicate your time to, you might end up enjoying it in the long run.”
Matthew Quinto, a 20-year-old member of the Traditional Games Club, said traditional games provide friendly competition and community.
“As much as I like competing and all that stuff, what really drew me in was the first time when I went to state (competition) and having other coaches and athletes come up and try to help me do better,” Quinto said.
Abbott and Quinto say they plan to compete in the first UAS competition of the season.
The Kick-Off is on Nov. 19 at the UAS REC Center.
By Teigan Akagi, Staff Writer, UAS Whalesong