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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide
 

NATIVE YOUTH OLYMPICS - A HISTORY

 

In the Spring of 1971, the first NYO were organized by Sarah Hanuske, a coordinator for the Boarding Home Program in Anchorage, and those students who attended the boarding school at that time. That year, NYO consisted of twelve schools, which included the Anchorage boarding students, a team from Mt. Edgecomb, and some state operated schools from as far away as Sitka and Nome. The event took one afternoon, and approximately 100 students participated. The original organizers wanted an opportunity to demonstrate their favorite Native Games. By sharing their games with others, it was hoped that the people of Alaska would not forget the many traditional contests of their forefathers. Since that time, interest and the number of competitors has grown.

The competition is open to all Alaskan students in grades 7 to 12 regardless of ethnic origin. The students must be in good standing with their respective schools. Teams consist of nine boys and nine girls. One team per school will be allowed to enter NYO. Team members must enter at least one event.

NYO is a vehicle for participants to gain confidence and improve self esteem. NYO puts an emphasis on flexibility, power, balance, concentration, agility, physical strength, and stamina. There are medals given out for first, second, and third place finishers in each event in both the boys and girls divisions. Certificates are given for fourth place, fifth place, and general participation. The competition continues to be held during the month of April every year. A "Sportsmanship" plaque is given to one male and female competitor each year. An "Overall Athlete" plaque is presented to an individual boy and girl demonstrating outstanding athletic ability during the event. The "Sam Fox Team Sportsmanship Award" is awarded to the team who best demonstrates the true meaning of the games - sportsmanship. Each team will have one vote towards the Sam Fox Award. Team plaques are given to the first five teams in respect to their point accumulation. Points are acquired by individual team members placing in any event first to fifth place. First place is given 10 points, second place - 8 points, third place - 6 points, fourth place - 4 points, and fifth place - 2 points. The Cook Inlet Tribal Council, Inc./Johnson-O'Malley Program is now the primary sponsor of NYO. Financial support also comes from registration fees from participating teams; as well as corporate, community, and individual donations.

 

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Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
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Last modified August 14, 2006