Like the Arctic Sports, the Dene Games do not require much for equipment. They are also greatly intertwined with traditional and cultural values which focus on demonstrating sportsmanship, a competitive desire to perform to the best of their capabilities and to have fun with their teammates as well as their opponents. These Games portray an amazing sense of camaraderie where everyone is helping everyone achieve their utmost potential.
Classes Competing in Dene Games during 2010 Arctic Winter Games include:
Open Male (no age restriction)
Junior Male (90 or later; 20 or younger)
Junior Female (90 or later; 20 or younger)
Juvenile Female (94 or later; 16 or younger)
Athletes use a pole that resembles a traditional style spear, with a slightly pointed end, with the other end blunt. The objective is for the athletes to throw this spear along a well packed snow surface that is more than a hundred meters long and approximately three meters wide. A winner emerges when they have acquired the longest distance. Originally the concept of Snow Snake was used as a hunting technique in the high north. Hunters would use this technique as a way of capturing Caribou while they rested on the ground.
Two teams of four will grasp a rather large 18 - 20 foot pole on opposite ends and try to push the other outside the marked circle. This game requires a tactical unification of team strength in order to become the winner. Pole Push is usually performed outdoors but can also be done indoors as well.
Two athletes will sit close together facing each other and will place their non-pulling hand on the opponent’s opposite shoulder. They will then interlock their middle fingers and raise their elbows to almost shoulder height. Upon hearing the signal the athletes will begin pulling in an even motion with no jerking movements. Competition ends when a competitor straightens out the opponent’s arm at the elbow or in breaking the finger lock.
A 12 inch shaved birch or spruce stick is greased up using Crisco as a lubricant and placed into the hands of two opponents’. Opponents stand facing each other with their pulling arms directly in front of their opponents’, and on a signal will begin pulling attempting to pull it out of the other’s hand.
A very traditional, a very musical, and a very fun event, the Hand Games are about teams and players trying to trick the opposition into believing they have nothing in their hands. Two teams of four face each other while sitting on a blanket or mat. Each player on one team will possess a single small object in their hands and will try to fool their opponents about which hand it is in. Both teams will use hand signals to coordinate and inform the others of where they think the other team’s small objects are. At the beginning, twelve small sticks will be placed in between the two teams, and the first team to posses all twelve, or who possess the most after fifteen minutes, will be declared the winner.