Canada's Sports Hall of Fame Canadian History and Society: Through the Lens of Sport Virtual Museum of Canada


Video Transcript

[Narrator - Rylan Strachan]

[Image of an ulu, Arctic Winter Games medals and Inuit building an igloo]

The ulu, a traditional knife that is used by the Inuit for living on the land, is the chosen design of the Arctic Winter Games medals because it reflects northern lifestyles and traditions.

[Image showing ulu's being used in traditional setting, original ulu's]

The ulu is an all-purpose knife that was used for skinning and cleaning animals, cutting food, and trimming blocks of snow and ice to build an igloo as required. The traditional handles were often made of antler or horn and a slate cutting blade because the |Arctic lacked metal smelting technology. Traditionally, an ulu is passed down from generation to generation because it is believed the ancestor's knowledge is contained within the ulu.

[Image of Arctic Winter Games flag, images of dog sledding, pole push and pins]

The Arctic Winter Games were first held in 1970 and were conceived to provide northern athletes with an incentive to improve their skills against athletes of a similar background and to strengthen mutual understanding and foster good international relations through sport between Arctic cultures. The Arctic Winter Games are both a sport competition and a cultural festival with competitors from the circumpolar regions.

[Images of gold, silver and bronze ulu medals, images of Arctic Sport events]

The design for the Arctic Winter Games medal is based on the ulu knife and represents the symbolic value of winning an event for the winner's home community. Athletes compete in popular sports like hockey and basketball but also feature unique northern events such as the one and two foot high kick and Alaskan high kick from the Inuit culture and the snow snake and blanket toss for the Dene cultures. Most of the sports in the Arctic category are individual, self-testing games.

[Images of athletes with snowshoes, competing in Snow Snake and Finger Pull events]

Today, Indigenous people actively participate in their cultural games. Inuit and Dene events in the Arctic Winter Games help traditional values and customs remain relevant amongst youth.

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