Games of the arctic
The Inuit have always enjoyed a variety of games
and sports. Skills developed by these games were often those necessary
for everyday survival in the harsh environment. Thus, the games concern
physical strength, agility, and endurance. Many Inuit games are traditional
and require no equipment. Some traditional games may have been learned
in Asia before the Inuit migrated across the Bering Strait (c. 2000
B.C.), while others were undoubtedly learned after migration, through
contact with southern Aboriginal peoples who had migrated at an earlier
time from Asia into the Western hemisphere.
game 'Arctic Hunt' is a version of the standard European row
game known as Three Man Morris and in North America known
as Tic-Tac-Toe. The equipment comes in a colourful box 4.3cm
long x 9.5cm wide x 10.2cm high featuring two Inuit dressed
in winter parkas playing the game in the snow. Printing on
the box is in both English and French.
© 1966 Yellowknife, NWT
This is a version of the standard European row
game known as Three Man Morris and in North America known as Tic-Tac-Toe.
The board is brownish leather with rounded corners. Nine squares
are stencilled on the surface in black. Each square features a stylized
design of an animal reminiscent of various Inuit stonecuts. A leather
thong is included in the box, to be used to tie the board together
when it is rolled up. Six pieces of antler horn are included for
use as playing pieces. On three pieces, animal designs are stencilled
in black, and on the other three, similar designs are stencilled
in red. Players each place one of the pieces anywhere on the board,
alternating their actions. The winner is the one who first gets
their three pieces in a vertical, diagonal, or horizontal row.
"blanket" for the game of "Blanket Toss"
is usually made from seal or walrus skins. The photograph
was taken in Canada in the Northwest Territories in 1978,
and illustrates the Holman Island version of the game, which
is called Nalukauq.
The "blanket" for the game of "Blanket
Toss" is usually made from seal or walrus skins and thus it
can withstand the pounding that results every time a player lands
back on it after a "toss". The game is often played in
rounds - the winner is the player who bounces the highest.