A couple weeks ago we got to go to our first WEIO, a great glimpse into Native culture.
The games that are played by these people display the preparedness one needed for survival. They require skill as well as strength, agility, and endurance. In this manner, the people could at least teach the children that they had to be tough to make it on their own, not just in one area, but in all. The games left no part of the body untested.
The Opening Ceremonies began with a beautiful and skillful duet rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” sung a cappella by two young sisters.
Opening Ceremony Grand Entrance, dance teams
“Race of the Torch” winners light the seal-oil lamp to officially open the games
Presiding elders, Lamp Tenders
After being at the powwow and seeing the dance themes, we wondered if there were a “Mosquito Dance.” Sure enough; our favorite!
Blanket Toss: all of the walrus-skin blanket holders are volunteers from the audience. Tourists especially got a kick out of being included!
She’s a blur up there!
One-hand reach: the strength and balance was amazing!
This game requires the athlete to balance on his/her hands with at least one elbow tucked under the lower abdominal area. The rest of the body is parallel to the floor. The participant will then use one hand to reach up and touch the suspended target. Upon doing this, the participant must get that hand back to the floor before any other part of his/her body touches the floor while demonstrating his/her balance to the floor officials. This is a game demonstrating balance, athletic prowess, and strength. Height is the objective.
Getting set up with legs off the floor
A new record set: 31 seconds!
Four-man carry: four audience members were needed to volunteers to hang on and be carried by the strong man. Each volunteer needed to weigh 150 pounds. We watched a world record set for distance.
Often during a successful hunt there comes a time when the games caught has to be packed for long distances. This is true of packing wood or ice. The for man carry not only test the capability of carrying heaving loads, but it also tests the “weight” – those volunteers “draped” over the participant during the event. Distance is the objective.
…and they all fall down!