April 17, 2011

Documentary on Alaska Native games

Native games documentary to be broadcast nationwide

By Mike DunhamAwareness of traditional Alaska Native games--the knuckle hop, ear pull, two foot high kick, etc.--has largely been confined to northern latitudes. But starting Monday, a documentary on 150 or more public television stations will present the grueling and acrobatic sports to a potential national audience of millions.

"Games of the North: Playing for Survival," a collaboration of the Alaska Native Heritage Center, Starseed Media and Native American Public Telecommunications, features past and present stars and competitors, including Brian Randazzo, Jesse Frankson, David Thomas, Liz Rexford and Robert "Big Bob" Aiken. The documentary was shot in Barrow, Point Hope and Southcentral Alaska.

The 26-minute film links the games with their practical origins: Staying in shape in close quarters during the winter, signaling hunters and helpers from a distance, sneaking up on game, transporting it back to a village and leaping between ice cakes over freezing water.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Native Documentaries and News.

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