The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (WEIO) is a cherished tradition where crowds gather to watch athletes compete in traditional Alaska Native games. The games connect to the rich history and spirit of the region and reiterate the need to be strong both mentally and physically, making it possible to survive a harsh climate as the Elders of the region once did. Many traditional hunting and survival activities are reflected in the 19 games represented at WEIO, ranging from the one-foot high kick to seal skinning.
This year, audience members enjoyed amazing moments like Kyle Worl’s backflip on the blanket toss and the and the impressive performances of Marjorie Kunaq Tahbone and Asaaluk Nichols in the fish cutting contest from Nome. There are four awards given as tribute during WEIO.
In addition to the games, WEIO crowns a young woman as Miss WEIO during a pageant each year.
The competition showcases cultures and languages of the region, and being a positive role model in their community. This year’s Miss WEIO is Michelle Pearl Kaleak, of Utqiagvik.
Image at the top: The 2014 Nulukataq event at WEIO in Fairbanks. Photo by Ronn Murray Photography, WEIO.