Nunavik revives Inuit games for this year’s AWG

About 90 young Nunavimmiut participated in Inuit games trials in Salluit for Nunavik’s first Arctic Winter Games team in 24 years.

By JANE GEORGE

MONTREAL — Inuit games are undergoing a revival in Nunavik as athletes vie to represent the region at the 2000 Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse.

Aspiring athletes recently participated in regional trials to see who will make up the first team in 24 years that Nunavik has sent to the Arctic Winter Games.

Over the past year, a Youth Service Canada project worked to intensify interest in traditional Inuit games in Nunavik. At the same time, the Kativik School Board’s teachers also helped students get them into shape for events.

At the regional trials held Nov. 12-14 in Salluit, one observer noted that there was already a “good level of competition” present.

“I think we did pretty well,” said Frankie Gordon, recreation director for the Kativik Regional Government. “We succeeded in getting 13 of the 14 communities involved and 90 participants.”

Those three full days of competition will lead to the selection of 35 team members and alternates. They will then attend a special training camp, to bolster their team spirit and confidence, shortly before the final team of 20 heads on to Whitehorse, March 5 to 11.

The emphasis of this year’s participation, said Gordon, is more on sportsmanship, training and teamwork than on winning.

“We’re just making our introduction,” Gordon said. “We’re setting our own pace, and encouraging athletes to achieve individual results.”

The Nunavik-Quebec team is participating on a guest basis in the Whitehorse games while the region’s application for full membership is evaluated.

“We’re going to show that we’re able to compete,” Gordon said.

The KRG, KSB and Makivik Corporation are financially supporting Nunavik’s participation in the games.

The team’s uniforms will feature the distinctive gold and blue colours of Makivik.

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