July 17, 2008

Eskimo-Indian Olympics resume

Camaraderie, competition mark WEIO opening ceremonies in FairbanksThe opening ceremonies began with the JOM FAN dance group’s entrance and, like the various other groups that will perform throughout WEIO—Utuqqagmiut from Wainwright, Upward Bound Alaska Native Dance Group and Tagiugmiut from Barrow and others—members entered the arena in matching attire, each chanting their own moving, almost entrancing, rhythmic songs in their native languages, beating their moose skin drums. Audience members softly chanted along, swaying with the music, bobbing their heads with the beat and smiling proudly. It was a moment steeped in tradition and a time for many to reflect on why the event exists.

“For a lot of young people, this is an opportunity to learn. For us elders, it is a time to get together and to share our tradition and culture,” Athabascan Walter Newman said.
Comment:  For a report on last year's WEIO, see The Dead Meat Olympics.

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