Northern-style hand game competition makes its debut at Alberta Indigenous Games 2021

This is the first time the North American traditional guessing game has been played at the Alberta Indigenous Games 2021.

It was a special day at the Alberta Indigenous Games 2021 on Monday, with a very old traditional game being played, Northern-style hand games.

“It has been recognized that today’s Indigenous youth are the largest growing segment of Canada’s population and that they are a risk to a variety of social issues including poverty; health concerns such as a sedentary lifestyle, type II diabetes, heart disease and fetal alcohol syndrome. Excessive rates of incarceration; suicide; substance abuse unemployment and high school dropouts continue to plague the rural and urban Indigenous community.

August 12-19th, 2021 will bring together Indigenous youth from across Alberta to engage in one week of competitive team sports, traditional games, special events, education, and cultural connection. The 7th overall Games will again honour the spirit of the late plan Allan Ross who was the founder of the Alberta Indigenous Games.

The mandate and theme of the Alberta Indigenous Games is RECLAIMING OUR YOUTH through sport development, educational empowerment, career opportunities, and cultural connection. In that spirit, the Alberta Indigenous Games is honoured to organize the 2021 Alberta Indigenous Games.

Our Games have grown tremendously since its inception in 2011. We had 300 youth registered in 2011, 400 in 2013, 485 in 2015, 1100+ in 2017 and 900+ in a smaller 5 sports Games in 2018, and over 2,000+ in 2019. In 2020 we anticipated to have over 2,500 youth attend before the pandemic hit. We are back and for 2021 we are anticipating over 2000+ youth. The games were founded by the late Allan Ross (1955-2015) who was both a teacher and coach working with many Aboriginal youth throughout his career.

Ross based the philosophy of the games around the teachings of Dr. Martin Broken Leg’s “Circle of Courage” philosophy which consist of: Generosity, Independence, Belonging and Spirituality.

This Summer August 12-19th 2021, the games will make its return for its 7th edition and 5th time in 7 years! We have become the largest Indigenous multi-sport Summer Games on a yearly basis in Canada,” reads the Alberta Indigenous Games website.

Youth aged thirteen to twenty-one participated in the hand games. There were three teams of six players each that played the Northern-style hand games last Monday.

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