FIFTH ANNUAL 2022 TRADITIONAL GAMES TO KICK OFF THIS WEEKEND IN JUNEAU
Public invited to attend, watch livestream
March 30, 2022
The fifth annual 2022 Traditional Games will kick off this weekend in Juneau, marking the first time in two years the event will open to the public due to easing of Covid-19 cases.
More than 140 middle school, high school and adult athletes from 30 communities across Alaska will compete in ten events that are based on ancient hunting and survival skills of Indigenous people.
“We will have a lot of amazing athletes this year,” said Coach Kyle Worl.
The games are different from most other sports in that athletes competing in the same events also encourage each other to reach personal bests. Even coaches give tips on improvement to athletes from opposing teams.
The result is an uncommon comradery among teammates who find a new network of supporters and friends through the games.
Coach Kyle Worl, who resurrected the event in Juneau after a near 30-year lull here, has participated in the games for the past 14 years and describes it as a “life-changing experience.”
“The games helped build my confidence. I felt like I belonged and that Native identity was acknowledged and embraced. It was a way to connect with my culture and come out of my shell,” said Worl, a Tlingit, who added non-Native athletes are also welcome.
The games are scheduled 9 am-10 pm, Saturday, April 2 and 9 am-5 pm, Sunday, April 3 in the main gym of Thunder Mountain High School.
All participants on the gym floor (athletes, coaches, officials, volunteers and staff) are required to have a negative Covid-19 test result prior to participation. A supervised Covid-19 test can be taken up to 72 hours before attending the event or an at-home rapid Covid-19 test up to 24 hours before attending the event. We will have limited tests available on-site, so we recommend getting a free at-home test from one of our local libraries. No test is required if the participant has had a prior Covid-19 infection and recovery in the last 90 days (after Jan 1, 2022). Masks are optional only for athletes while they are actively competing and required for all others.
Spectators also must wear masks and confirm they do not have Covid-19 symptoms.
The games will be livestreamed on Sealaska Heritage Institute’s YouTube and a website set up for the games. Athletes who have questions should contact Coach Kyle Worl at firstname.lastname@example.org or 907.227.4998.
About Traditional Games
The Traditional Games includes various events that 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. 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.
Sponsors and Partners
The Traditional Games and Juneau’s NYO team are a community collaboration made possible by the following major sponsors: Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Sealaska Heritage, Sealaska, University of Alaska Southeast, GCI, Select Physical Therapy, SEARHC, Juneau School District and Trickster Co.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. SHI also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.