New Sports to Try

Are the seal hop, toe kick, one foot high kick, stick pull, wrist carry, kneel jump, and Alaskan high kick sports that your students participate in after school in your  state? Well if you taught in Alaska they might be!

DSC_0993The teachers and I were treated to a demonstration of the Native Youth Olympic events at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.  The events are games that were played traditionally by people of Alaska.  Some of the games teach or improve skills that are needed for hunting and survival and others were played just for fun during the long dark winter days.  The athletes and coaches have tried to get these games included in the Olympics and have done demonstrations for the organizers but they  apparently were turned down for fear that the US would dominate the events with all the Native Alaskans who would participate!

While many of the games require a great deal of skill and may not be appropriate for your students (I can totally see my boys trying the one foot high kick on the tether ball court), there are a few that could might be fun to introduce to your students.

For example the stick pull game mimics the movements and strength needed to pull a seal from the water when hunting.  There are two hand positions – inside and outside and positions should be alternated. A player needs to pull his opponent to standing two out of three times to win the event.

A YouTube search for Native Youth Olympics will turn up video clips of the events that you can explore!  I found some good information about the games at the University of Alaska Fairbanks site.