Survival then, Survival now

By Kristin Helweg Hanson and Sheila (Tusaagvik) Seetomona Randazzo.

Published by The Sport Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Alaska Native games celebrate ancient skills that were necessary for hunting survival. Feats of exceptional strength and coordination afforded both personal protection and assistance for the hunter in his mission to bring sustenance to his community. The protective and community-nurturing effects of these skills continue today in modern, urban environments where the skills are transmitted through unique, competitive games for Alaska Native youth. Recent Game forums underscore the subtle overlapping layers of identity, spirituality, cultural continuity, and community health involved with these games. Game-related subsistence spirituality is specifically explored as a non-dual, anti-hegemonic, and potentially protective resource for modern Alaska Native teens. The proposed connections between subsistence spirituality, Games, and holistic wellness underscore the emergent importance of these skill Games for modern Alaska Native youth and communities.

Keywords: Alaska Native Games, World Eskimo & Indian Olympics (WEIO), Native Youth Olympics (NYO), Arctic Winter Games, Alaska High Kick, 2-Foot Kick, Blanket Toss, Subsistence Spirituality, Alaska Native Identity, Suicide and Holistic Wellness

The International Journal of Sport and Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.83-96. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.081MB).

Kristin Helweg Hanson

Adjunct Professor, Philosophy Department, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Kristin Helweg Hanson, Ph.D. has degrees in nursing, education and religious studies. Hanson studied in the “Persons, Community, and Religious Practices” program of the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University where she earned her doctorate and a Certificate of Women’s Studies. Hanson now teaches philosophy and religion at the University of Alaska, Anchorage (UAA). Her interests include beliefs and practices that emerge from intersecting spiritualities; Inupiaq transformation of immigrant Lutheranism is a particular focus. Hanson is associated with an Inupiaq faith community in Anchorage, AK. It was at a church social event that Hanson first saw the contests of skill.

Sheila (Tusaagvik) Seetomona Randazzo

Board Director, University of Alaska Anchorage, Anchorage, Alaska, USA

Sheila (Tusaagvik) Seetomona Randazzo, B.S. was born and raised in Anchorage, AK and has family roots in the village of Shishmaref, AK. She has particular interest in cultural continuity and health for Alaska Native communities. Randazzo is the Transition Advisor in Native Student Services at University of Alaska, Anchorage. She also serves as a Board Director of Sobermiut, a grass roots organization that promotes holistic wellness for Native families. Sheila Randazzo was principle researcher for the AK Humanities Forum grant that did an initial exploration of Alaska Native games and their history. Sheila (Tusaagvik) has won various medals in Native Game events. She is married to Brian (Sepaq) Randazzo who holds the world record for 2-foot High Kick and shares the world record for 1-foot High Kick Alaska style. Sheila and Brian Randazzo teach and promote Native Games in Anchorage and other Alaskan communities.