Sealaska Heritage Institute
Sealaska Heritage Institute (SHI) has postponed the southern Native Youth Olympics Traditional Games that was slated to happen at the Ketchikan High School this weekend.
The change was made following a spike in new COVID-19 cases in Ketchikan this week, including five that were announced by the Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District on Tuesday.
Sealaska Heritage Institute is hoping to reschedule the event later in May and will continue to monitor the situation. Prior to the outbreak, the 2021 games planned in Ketchikan and Juneau were restructured in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health guidelines to ensure safety. Only athletes, coaches and organizational staff will be admitted to the venues, and the events will be live streamed in lieu of a public audience.
Everyone involved must test for the virus 72 hours prior to both events and show proof of negative results. Symptom and temperature checks will be conducted daily for all participants, and masks will be required during the competition. Additionally, plastic barriers will be set up at all official tables. Traveling teams are limited to eight athletes, and host communities may have up to 10 athletes per local team. All participants are to practice social distancing.
The northern 2021 Traditional Games are still scheduled on Saturday and Sunday, May 8-9, in Juneau. Both events will stream live on Sealaska Heritage Institute’s YouTube and a special website set up for the games.
About Native Youth Olympics
The Traditional Games includes 10 different events that test skills of strength, agility, balance, endurance and focus. These games are based on hunting and survival skills of the Indigenous people of Alaska and across the Arctic going back hundreds of years. Athletes strive to perform at their personal best while helping and supporting their fellow competitors, no matter what team. This is the spirit of the games, to work together toward common goals and learn from the skills and values that allowed Alaska Native people to survive and thrive in some of the harshest conditions.
The Traditional Games and Juneau’s NYO team are a community collaboration made possible by the following major sponsors: Sealaska, Sealaska Heritage, University of Alaska Southeast, Central Council of Tlingit and Haida, SEARHC, Select Physical Therapy, Tlingit & Haida Community Council, Kindred Post and Trickster Co., and in partnership with the Juneau School District, Ketchikan Indian Community, Ketchikan Gateway Borough School District, Goldbelt Heritage, Zach Gordon Youth Services and UAS Wooch Een.
About Sealaska Heritage Institute
Sealaska Heritage Institute is a private nonprofit founded in 1980 to perpetuate and enhance Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian cultures of Southeast Alaska. Its goal is to promote cultural diversity and cross-cultural understanding through public services and events. Sealaska Heritage Institute also conducts social scientific and public policy research that promotes Alaska Native arts, cultures, history and education statewide. The institute is governed by a Board of Trustees and guided by a Council of Traditional Scholars, a Native Artist Committee and a Southeast Regional Language Committee.