The long Arctic winters created a desire and necessity for games and recreation Traditional games were meant not only to entertain, but also to educate. Games often developed strength, aim, and skill, and therefore the ability to survive on the land. In the hand pull, a short thong is tied to a handlebar at either end. Two individuals each grasp one handlebar. One participant locks the handlebar in position close to the body and the other player is then invited to pull. In high kicks, players attempt to hit a suspended target, usually a rolled piece of sealskin, with one foot while hopping on the other. The target is gradually raised to make the game more difficult until only one participant is left. Games such as these were well suited to being played indoors, especially in the more confined spaces of a snowhouse or tent. Outdoor activities also abounded with children often playing such familiar games as "hide and seek," skipping, sliding, and juggling. Children frequently made games out of learning tasks that would be necessary in adulthood such as sewing and building snowhouses. For more examples of games see Gambling, Ayaqaktun, Big Brother Pulling Sister on Bicycle, Children Playing Games at Daycare, and Game in Snowhouse. Also, try some traditional games we have adapted to the computer.



String games accompanied stories, illustrating important and often familiar figures. Using a long sinew cord, storytellers created recognizable patterns by wrapping the string around their fingers. The patterns could have various meanings and emphasized particular points in the narrative.



In Holman today, sports are the main recreational activity. The Sports and Recreation Office in the Holman Hamlet Council organizes a wide range of sporting activities, workshops and tournaments. The Ulukhaktok Recreation Centre was constructed in 1990 offering indoor hockey ice and two curling rinks. There is an indoor gymnasium attached to the school, two baseball diamonds, and the world’s northernmost golf course. The annual Billy Joss Invitational Golf Tournament attracts celebrities and professional golfers from all over Canada. Hockey, however, has become one of the most popular sports in the community. Great interest is shown in large sporting events such as the annual Northern Games and biennial Arctic Winter Games. Traditional games and modern sport share the common theme of building skill through play and practice, creating a direct connection between games and real life.


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