White Girl: Playing games

White Girl: Playing games

Another deadly challenge comes in the shape of a wooden dart shaped as a teardrop.

A narrow end fits into your hand; the bottom of the teardrop has been fitted with a nail that has been sharpened to a fine and deadly point. The object of the game is to place your hand flat and out and very vulnerable on the table … all of you tender fingers are spread wide.

You then throw the dart and try to stick it between your fingers. Of course you don’t want to stick it into your hand, the object is NOT to stick it in your hand silly! This dart has to be thrown HARD in order to make it stick into the table or it does not count.

It really, really hurts if the dart jabs into your hand. If your throw is disqualified, your opposition gets to take a turn at the throw. They can throw the dart at your hand!  You hope they like you, you hope they are good shots and you really hope that you have the guts to not move your hand as the throw is made. An Eskimo version of chicken!

We played games that are now an integral part of the Arctic Winter Games, the last time that I checked anyway.  The one leg kick with variations is still tough to accomplish.

The following is an old endurance and strength game I have not seen or heard of for many, many years.

You kneel with your hands behind your back and remain upright. A friend can sit on your legs or you can tuck them under something that will support your weight. You then bend forward with your hands behind your straight back. Get your face close enough to the floor to pick up a small object that has been placed out there, with your teeth. You then lengthen out your body and replace the object just beyond where you found it.

You return your body to its upright position, with your hands still behind your back. You can’t fall or you are disqualified, try it, I dare you. Your opponent repeats this procedure and attempts to move the object further than you just did. We used a tiny handmade seal as the object and our mascot.

I have seen persons in positions of impossibility while attempting this feat. Of course if you were not physically inclined there are always games of cards. A favourite is crib.

P.S. In 1972 I came south from Inuvik with the Mackenzie Delta Drum Dancers to participate in a cultural competition for the Arctic Winter Games. We won Gold Ulus for our performances.
Whitehorse is a wondrous City for us kids from the north. Wow, there are so many people! Look at all of the cars, such food, so much excitement. The people of Whitehorse were so very kind, smiling when we walked out into the street forgetting such things as cars … we have few or no cars were we live.

When we blocked the sidewalks because there were no sidewalks where we live, people walked around us and smiled at our awe, we did not know how the customs worked. That was 40 years ago.

I am proud to say that the people of Whitehorse still maintain their openhearted hospitality.  They realize that visitors to our Territory come from different cultures and countries.  Everyone goes out of their way to make our very special visitors feel at home. Have a most wonderful time at this Arctic Winter Games and remember, THERE IS NO SWEAT IN THE ARCTIC!


Dawn Kostelnik

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