World Eskimo Indian Olympics
The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (or WEIO) is an annual multi-sport event held over a four-day period in July or August, designed to preserve cultural practices and traditional (survival skills) essential to life in circumpolar areas of the world. The WEIO features games or sports rooted in ancestral hunting and survival techniques employed by the Inuit, Iñupiat, Yupik, and other Native Americans, as well as dance storytelling competitions, and an annual cultural pageant, that focuses on cultural knowledge.
In 1961, the WEIO (formerly World Eskimo Olympics), held its inaugural event held on the banks of the Chena River, Fairbanks, Alaska, as part of the Golden Days celebration festivities. The event was sponsored by the City of Fairbanks, through the city's Chamber of Commerce.
In 1970, sponsorship of the event was transferred to Tundra Times (a statewide newspaper in Alaska), and several revisions were made. This includes the name change — which inserted "Indian" to better reflect the ethnicity of the participants — and the introduction of events for women. The first decade of the events featured male-only participants; eventually, the number of events which women competing increased. Women now participate in some of the more arduous events, including ear pulls and high kicks.
Six years later, the WEIO reorganized as a 501(c) non-profit organization, which took over sponsorship from the newspaper, and has been responsible for plans, preparations, and stagings related to the event.
After four and a half decades of hosting the WEIO in Fairbanks, the games were relocated to Anchorage, Alaska in 2007 following a successful bid to host the event. WEIO board members were concerned that Fairbanks officials were becoming complacent, and elected to examine other venues.
The general assembly voted to have the games held at the new location earlier that spring.
|1961-2006 and 2008-present||Fairbanks, Alaska||Banks along Chena River (1961-1967?), Big Dipper Ice Arena (1968-2006)[dubious ] and Carlson Center (since 2008)|
|2007||Anchorage, Alaska||Sullivan Arena|
Events played at the WEIO are either traditional everyday tasks or unique to Eskimo or northern native culture:
- Knuckle Hop or Seal Hop
- Four man carry
- Ear weight
- Ear pull
- Drop the bomb
- One foot high kick and akratcheak (two foot high kick)
- One Hand Reach
- Alaskan High Kick
- Kneel jump
- Indian Stick pull
- Eskimo Stick pull (tug of war)
- Toe kick
- Arm pull
- Nalukataq (blanket toss)
- Seal skinning
- Muktuk Eating
- Greased pole walk
- Bench reach
- "World Eskimo-Indian Olympics — a History", ANKN.UAF.edu.
- Wyatt, Sarah (2007). "Malchoff on Top of the World at the 2005 World Eskimo-Indian Olympics", TheWIP.net.
- Bauman, Margaret (2007). "Eskimo games to add $1 million to Anchorages economy", Alaska Journal of Commerce at the Wayback Machine (archived 26 October 2007)
- "World Eskimo-Indian Olympics to relocate", ScienceDaily.com at the Wayback Machine (archived 27 September 2007)
- Mac Donald, Steve (2007). "Eskimo Olympics come to Anchorage", MSNBC.com at the Wayback Machine (archived 20 November 2007)
- (2007). "The WEIO Games", WEIO.org.
- Official website
- "History of the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics", Fairbanks-Alaska.com.
- McNeel, Jack (2003). "World Eskimo-Indian Olympics", Indian Country at the Wayback Machine (archived 12 January 2005)
- Block, Melissa (2007). Eskimo-Indian Olympics Capture Native Traditions as covered by the NPR programme, All Things Considered