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Canku Ota

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(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


February 23, 2002 - Issue 55


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Light the Arctic Flame

The 2002 Iqaluit Host Society Logo reflects three distinct Inuit symbols. At the base of the design is an ulu (traditional Inuit knife) standing on its handle. The blade is curved into the shape of a kudlik (traditional oil-burning lamp) with flames that extend to a star that represents the Northern star. There are nine dynamic flames atop the kudlik, each representing one of the contingents that will travel to the Games. The colours of the Nunavut flag are proudly featured and blend into one another to represent the sharing and cultural exchange that takes place at the Games. “Light the Arctic Flame” is the 2002 Games slogan shared by the host societies of Iqaluit, Nunavut and Nuuk, Greenland.

Artctic Winter Games LogoFor the first time, Greenland and Nunavut will host Arctic Winter Games, the largest sports and cultural event in the Arctic region. Almost 2,000 athletes will meet to compete, form contacts and make friends across the boundaries of nationality and culture. However, the host towns of Iqaluit and Nuuk also have another mission: to show that we are a high tech part of the global community, capable of organising international events of high standards.

This year, Canadian, Alaskan, Russian and Greenlandic youth will meet for one week of events that will outshine all prior events in Greenland and Northern Canada. Arctic Winter Games is the event of the Arctic and all sails have been set to make this the most spectacular event Greenland and Nunavut have ever hosted.

Sound concepts behind a fine tradition
In 1970 in Yellowknife, Canada 500 athletes, trainers and officials came together for the first Arctic Winter Games. The participants came from Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska. Since then, the Games have been held on 15 occasions in different places and with ever more participants from more and more places within the Arctic region. At the 2002 Games there will be as many as 2000 participants in Nuuk and Iqaluit from Magadan, Chukotka, Alaska, Yukon, Northern Alberta, Northwest Territories, Nunavik, Nunavut and Greenland.

The basic elements in Arctic Winter Games are sports, culture and friendship. This is symbolised in the emblem of the Games - three rings against the background of the northern lights. What unites the three elements is the desire for fellowship, unity and co- operation between people. Fair play, loyalty, friendship and respect are also among the basic values of the Games.

The key to success
The key to success is first and foremost the active involvement of a large number of people. Roughly 1,500-2,000 volunteers will come to work on tasks of all sizes at the Arctic Winter Games. Never before have so many people been asked to sign up for voluntary duties in Nuuk and Iqaluit.

It is a great responsibility for the relatively young countries to organise the Arctic Winter Games. However, Arctic Winter Games is seen as an investment rather than an expense - an investment in international co-operation, an investment in youth and in our societies in general. It is an investment in our future.

The sports
Arctic Winter Games comprises a large number of sports, some of which are known all over the world, while others are specific to the Arctic region. The indoor and outdoor sports facilities at Nuuk will provide the setting for the following competitions: alpine skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, badminton, indoor soccer, table tennis, volleyball, and Arctic sports (Inuit and Dene games).

The indoor and outdoor sports facilities at Iqaluit will provide the setting for the following competitions: Arctic Sports (Inuit and Dene games), basketball, curling, dog mushing, gymnastics, hockey, short track speedskating, and wrestling.

Arctic sports
The traditional Inuit games and Dene games unite sport and culture, past and present. The old games have been passed down through generations and are still very popular. The characteristics of many of these games are that they take the form of an entertaining contest between two people. The contests focus on strength, concentration, co-ordination and flexibility: abilities that have always been crucial for survival in the Arctic climate.

A showcase of the Arctic culture
Culture is what we have in common and unites us to come together across the borders. We will have the largest cultural program ever in the history of the Games. You will see the culture that is alive in our societies, with both traditional and contemporary arts and performances from across the Arctic. In both Nuuk and Iqaluit, the entire community will join to host cultural activities of all kinds, such as the cultural Gala, art exhibitions, Arctic film festivals, daytime and evening concerts, fashion shows, igloo villages and much more.

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  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


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