Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Dustin Cook

LEARNING THE ROPES – Kuduat Shorty-Henyu (centre) gives some pointers to youngster Tammo Waldron (left) as he takes on Rose Inglangasuk (right) from the Yukon Aboriginal Sports Circle in the stick pull competition.

Youth try out Arctic sports at From the North Fest

Three athletes from Canada’s territories demonstrated Arctic sports and Dene games at the first From the North Fest on Sunday afternoon.

By Dustin Cook on October 23, 2017

Three athletes from Canada’s territories demonstrated Arctic sports and Dene games at the first From the North Fest on Sunday afternoon.

The fest was a free event for all ages featuring artists, athletes and performers from all three territories offering demonstrations and allowing visitors to get involved.

The three athletes, including Whitehorse athlete Kuduat Shorty-Henyu, were demonstrating a variety of northern sports and games including the one-foot high kick and stick pull.

“We’re teaching all the kids and all the people that want to try and showing them what they should do and showing them all the culture in the sports we have right now,” Shorty-Henyu said.

Many kids were drawn to trying out the one-foot high kick where the goal is to jump and kick the object at the end of a string with one foot.

Shorty-Henyu, who has been competing in Arctic sports since 2013, said he has started his training for the 2018 Arctic Games and hopes to beat his one-foot high kick result from the 2016 games.

He kicked seven feet and 11 inches and he said he hopes to officially kick higher than eight feet at the games.

The Fest was a chance for youth to learn these games they may have never seen before and receive demonstrations and tips from the athletes, From the North executive producer Kim Winnicky said.

“Our goal in the North is to celebrate northern culture here,” she said. “A lot of kids might not have tried this before but we live here and we appreciate how distinct each of our territories is.”

Kids and their parents who happened to be in the Canada Games Centre for their Sunday morning sports activities were drawn to the sports demonstrations and their chance to try the one-foot high kick and stick pull events — which many of them had not done before.

From the North and the three athletes will be continuing to five other Canadian cities — the two other territorial capitals as well as Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.

“I had this concept two years ago and this is exactly what I saw happening, so to see it become real in full is quite emotional,” Winnicky said.

Along with Simon Coady from Iqaluit and Robyn McLeod from the Dehcho Region in the Northwest Territories, Shorty-Henyu will also travel to these five Canadian cities with the festival to share the sports and culture with the country.

“I hope they learn to do what they want to try and what they see,” Shorty-Henyu said of youth participating and giving the games a try. “They’ll see the one foot high kick but some people would be to shy, I want them to break out of their shell and try it.”

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