Some jumping games are combined with a kick. In the Holman Island game of Aratsiaq, a target (such as a piece of bone or fur) is suspended at a given height. According to the Northern Games Association, a player may not be more than 10 feet from the target when the jump starts. From a standing start with both feet together on the ground, a player jumps up to kick the hanging target with one foot. The target must be clearly struck by one foot and the landing must be on the same foot that kicked the target. Balance must be maintained on landing. Games are played in rounds. The order of play is determined by a draw, which is maintained throughout a game. The target is raised a few inches in each round, and players are eliminated when they fail to kick the target. Any player may "decline" to jump when the target is raised. In Akratcheak, a player jumps and attempts to kick the target with both feet and land back on the ground in a standing position.
Some jumping games are combined with a kick. In the Holman Island game of Aratsiaq, a target (such as a piece of bone or fur) is suspended at a given height. According to the Northern Games Association, a player may not be more than 10 feet from the target when the jump starts. From a standing start with both feet together on the ground, a player jumps up to kick the hanging target with one foot. The target must be clearly struck by one foot and the landing must be on the same foot that kicked the target. Balance must be maintained on landing. Games are played in rounds. The order of play is determined by a draw, which is maintained throughout a game. The target is raised a few inches in each round, and players are eliminated when they fail to kick the target. Any player may "decline" to jump when the target is raised. In Akratcheak, a player jumps and attempts to kick the target with both feet and land back on the ground in a standing position.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Stonecut print of a "High-kick" game

This stonecut titled "High Kick" is by Agnes Nanogak.

Agnes Nanogak
Canadian Arctic Producers

© 1984 Canadian Arctic Producers


On Holman Island, juggling games are known as Illukisaaq or Illukitaq. In this game, the intent is to keep at least three objects in the air as long as possible. Normally, the game begins with two objects, a third is added, and then perhaps four or more. A skilful player may try to juggle all objects with only one hand. At times a song accompanies the juggling. Two or more jugglers may compete with one another.
On Holman Island, juggling games are known as Illukisaaq or Illukitaq. In this game, the intent is to keep at least three objects in the air as long as possible. Normally, the game begins with two objects, a third is added, and then perhaps four or more. A skilful player may try to juggle all objects with only one hand. At times a song accompanies the juggling. Two or more jugglers may compete with one another.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Stonecut print of a "Juggling" game

This stonecut titled "Juggling" is by Agnes Nanogak.

Agnes Nanogak
Canadian Arctic Producers

© 1984 Canadian Arctic Producers


During the summer months, in the outdoors during the day, a competing juggler may use small stones or bones for practice purposes. In the winter, special juggling balls are used for this game.
During the summer months, in the outdoors during the day, a competing juggler may use small stones or bones for practice purposes. In the winter, special juggling balls are used for this game.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Photograph of two "juggling" balls

The photograph illustrates two handmade juggling balls purchased by the Museum from an Inuit Cooperative. The balls, made of Caribou hide, are hand-stitched flat spheres about 8cm in diameter. The stuffing is unknown.

University of Waterloo

© 1979 University of Waterloo


Pitseolak, in Pictures Out of My Life, Oxford University Press, 1971, has this to say about the "ball game": "This is how we played the game - we threw a ball underhand and tried to catch it in a sealskin racket. The racket was called an Autuk. We made the ball from caribou skin and stuffed it with something. We used to play this game a lot, even in the winter. It was a good game, but they don’t play it now; they are following the world".
Pitseolak, in Pictures Out of My Life, Oxford University Press, 1971, has this to say about the "ball game": "This is how we played the game - we threw a ball underhand and tried to catch it in a sealskin racket. The racket was called an Autuk. We made the ball from caribou skin and stuffed it with something. We used to play this game a lot, even in the winter. It was a good game, but they don’t play it now; they are following the world".

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Stonecut

This stonecut titled "Ball Game" is by Napachie Pootoogook, the daughter of Pitseolak, who is also a noted Inuit artist from the Cape Dorset Cooperative. It is a type of group " ball game". Created in 1967, the print is in shades of green, blue, and black.

Napachie Pootoogook
West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.

© 1967 West Baffin Eskimo Cooperative, Cape Dorset, Nunavut.


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Describe the origin and nature of Inuit games;
  • Describe three Inuit games played with balls, including rules of play, and necessary materials

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