The Arctic Winter Games is more than sports.
It is also an opportunity to promote and share the cultures of the circumpolar world.
And the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games is no different.
There are many cultural aspects to this year’s games.
For example, a South Slave Arctic Winter Games Marketplace will be held from March 19 to March 23 – from noon to 7 p.m. each day – in the gym of Chief Sunrise Education Centre on the Hay River Reserve.
“It’s open to anybody who would like to sell their arts and crafts,” said Sharon Pekok, the recreation director with K’atlodeeche First Nation, which is presenting the marketplace in conjunction with the Arctic Winter Games. “I have people coming from Simpson and other outlying communities just to sell their stuff.”
Pekok said it is hoped there will be at least 20 tables featuring the work of artists and craftspeople.
“I think it would be good exposure for them,” she said.
The marketplace will feature photography, jewellery, prints, glassware, traditional crafts, paintings and children’s books.
Pekok is hoping the cultural marketplace will be popular, particularly because the Dene Games part of the Arctic Winter Games is being held on the Hay River Reserve.
A cultural marketplace will also be held in Fort Smith at Uncle Gabe’s Friendship Centre.
There will be workshops and two special photography exhibits at NWT Centennial Library.
Christine Gyapay, the head librarian, said the two travelling photo exhibits are from the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife.
One focuses on well-known Fort Smith trapper Pi Kennedy and the other features the work of Rene Fumoleau.
In addition, there was a traditional bracelet-making workshop on March 19 with Brenda Hall and there will be fish scale art workshops on March 21 and 23 with Jennifer Buckley.
“It is a really nice addition to the games,” said Gyapay of the cultural events. “From the sports side it’s huge, but, of course, there’s a cultural side of it as well.”
Hay River singers and musicians will also be performing at various locations throughout the week.
On March 23, a special gala event will take place at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Fort Smith.
The gala will showcase the cultures of the circumpolar regions which have sent contingents to the Arctic Winter Games.