'We want to show
the whole hand games community...that we allow women to play'
people in Yukon, including girls, playing hand games. A group
in Yukon is organizing its first all women hand games tournament
this weekend. In the N.W.T., women are generally not allowed
to play the traditional Dene game. (14 Nations Handgames Society/Facebook)
Young people in Yukon, including girls, playing hand games.
A group in Yukon is organizing its first all women hand games tournament
this weekend. In the N.W.T., women are generally not allowed to
play the traditional Dene game.
A hand games society in the Yukon has organized its first all-women
tournament this weekend in Whitehorse, saying it's a "gift"
that women can play in the territory.
"Since we in the Yukon allow women to do this, we feel
it's time to do something for our women," said Doronn Fox,
president of the 14 Nations Handgames Society.
"With hand games, women have always been involved."
Fox, president of the 14 Nations Handgames Society, said women
have always been allowed to play hand games in the Yukon.
'We feel it's time to do something for our women,' he said.
Hand games are a traditional Dene game played predominantly
by men and boys in the Northwest Territories women are seen
as a distraction and, for the most part, not allowed to take part.
"Over in N.W.T., they have certain traditions, they have
certain cultural understandings that they follow and when we travel
over there, we 100 per cent respect their teachings," Fox said.
"In the Yukon, we have the gift of women being able to
play, being able to participate with certain protocol to follow.
"We want to show the whole hand games community, not just
in Yukon but across Canada, that we allow women to play and we're
going to honour them."
'That time is now'
According to Fox, elders teachings say that hundreds of years
ago women actually gave the traditional games to men.
14 Nations Handgames Society is holding its first all women's
hand games tournament in Whitehorse this weekend. (14 Nations
Hand Games Society)
"Women were the keepers of the drum. Women were the keepers
of the ceremony, the dance, the singing," he said.
"The women gave the men all these teachings...to help the
men in those hard times, [so] that one day men would have to give
it back to the women.
"We as the 14 Nations believe that time is now."
The tournament runs Friday through Sunday (Mother's Day, which
Fox calls "fitting") at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural
Centre. It's $50 per person and $300 per team. Newcomers to the
game are also welcome demos will be held Friday afternoon
at the centre.
Fox says the hand games tournament is just the start. All profits
and donations raised this weekend will go to a charity that supports
missing and murdered women and children.
"We understand what's going on on the national level, that
we want to be a part of it and we want to support our women, cause
in the Yukon we have some of the strongest women around.
"We believe that it's our obligation to hold up our women."