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Indigenous Games

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((PKG)) ESKIMO OLYMPICS
((TRT: 03:25))
((Topic Banner:
Indigenous Games))
((Reporter/Camera:
Natasha Mozgovaya))
((Producer: Zdenko Novacki))
((Map:
Fairbanks, Alaska))
((Main character: 1 female))
((NATS))
((Text on screen:

Since 1961, Native athletes from circumpolar regions have competed in the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics.))
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

It’s a sport but if you think about it, it’s also technique or skill that you can use for your everyday life because where I’m from, we hunt and harvest for our foods. I’m 24 years old. I have been competing in these games since the fourth grade.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

There are different games out there. They’re not based off of like being physical. It’s all about technique. So, for example, the game that we did earlier, the Indian Stick Pull, that is all based off a technique. And that represents pulling a slippery, slimy salmon out of the fish [water]. And so, you got to figure out how to place your fingers to catch that fish, so it doesn’t get away. It’s all the knowledge that you gain based off of the land and your elders and your people.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

I’m Yupik, which is located in the Kuskokwim, lower Kuskokwim area in the southwestern part of Alaska. But I currently live on Tlingit land, which is in the southeast region.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

My grandmother, she was forced into an orphanage home. And that orphanage home was run by missionaries from the Lower 48 [US states]. And they basically were forcing my grandmother to not speak her language. She would get severe punishment if they did hear her speak her language. And they were enforcing the Western society way of life into her that she was not familiar from. And so, that caused a lot of trauma to her. And then as she grew up, she got into alcohol. So, there are many of us who are dealing with multigenerational trauma. But I feel that I’m going to be the one who’s going to break that cycle to not, make sure that trauma does not repeat itself because over the years in the past, you have seen stigma towards being Indigenous.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

For example, you, there have been moments where I walked into a space where it felt wrong for me to be Indigenous and I wasn’t like white enough, like I wasn’t living the white lifestyle perfectly. So, there was really no in-between for me, so I always felt out of place. And to see that here in a different way, like to be proud to be Indigenous.
((NATS))
((Keytlynne Lewis, Yupik WEIO Athlete from Juneau))

It’s very emotional for me, in a good way, to see our younger generations here, who are engaging with the games, who are engaging with the traditional dancing that, yesterday, that was a very strong performance with the Wainwright Dance Group. So, it’s really good to see little ones, who are learning how to drum, who are learning how to sing in the language, and who are doing all this with no shame.
((NATS))

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