The 2022 World Eskimo Indian Olympics

Published: Jul. 14, 2022 at 2:37 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The Toe Kick. The One-Hand Reach. The Knuckle Jump. The Dancing. The friendships renewed and the friendships that are new. These are some of the things you will experience at the World Eskimo Indian Olympics (WEIO).

For more than six decades, Alaska Natives and American Indians and other indigenous people have gathered right here in Fairbanks for the World Eskimo Indian Olympics.

WEIO officially kicked off on Wednesday, July 13 and continues through Saturday, July 16. The event takes place in Fairbanks at the Big Dipper.

Mandy Sullivan, the vice chair of the WEIO Games, has this to say about WEIO, “We have four days that are including not only dance competitions, native regalia for the adults and for the babies, but we also have 22 different athletic events that talk about how we as people have endured the harsh environments, the long winters and have been able to be physically fit. So at a moment’s notice, we’re able to go on a hunt, to go a long distance, to travel to another village.”

“So these games carry a history with it, but it also keeps us connected with our culture, but also are very transparent with what we do today in our village and urban settings,” Sullivan adds.

From the little tinies to the elders, there is something for everybody in the community to enjoy at the WEIO games.

The WEIO games encourage bringing young children to the event, “but we love seeing the adults being a part of it because it’s something that it’s not just for us as individuals, but it’s, I think, something that really brings all of the community together because it’s kind of reminding us of the harshness that we have a long winter, but we have this beautiful summer to remind us how much we love Alaska. And part of it is being Alaska native.” said Sullivan.

According to Sullivan, participants need to be at least six months old, “but they can be as old as they’d like to be. So if they want to be in triple digits, we’re not going to stop them. And it’s wonderful to see these individuals come out. They’re not afraid to participate.”

“Fish cutting, seal skinning. It’s something that’s a part of who they are and we embrace that. And because we’re learning from them still today and we want to be able to share that message not only with our participants, but with our audience members as well.”

Day time events will run from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are free to attend. Evening events will require an entrance fee, which can only be bought at the gate and not in advance. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Events start at 6:00 p.m. and finish around 10 p.m. Events will take place both inside the arena, and in the field adjacent of the Big Dipper.

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