Videos Make NYO Games More Accessible

New how-to videos offer step-by-step instructions for NYO events

For thousands of years, Alaska Native ancestors have passed on their knowledge to younger generations through whatever tools they had available. Elders shared their wisdom with young people through song, dance, art, storytelling.

In a modern world, the tools have changed, but the lessons haven’t.

Thanks to funding from a Nike N7 grant awarded to Cook Inlet Tribal Council (CITC) in 2017, CITC partnered with the Channel Films to produce thirteen instructional videos for Native Youth Olympic (NYO) Games events, plus a six-minute mini documentary about the origins of Native games.

“It’s an amazing opportunity to share these instructional videos, including the history of our games, through technology,” said NYO Head Official Nicole Johnston. “The videos anyone from around the world to access the Games, which is very in keeping with the philosophy of NYO — that anyone, Native or non-Native, is welcome to participate in and learn about Alaska Native culture.”

Each instructional video offers clear, step-by-step directions for how to perform NYO events like the One-Hand Reach, Alaskan High Kick, Seal Hop, and more, as demonstrated by NYO athletes. Nicole narrates each video and includes tips on how to best execute each event, as well as historical context for the Games.

“The videos allow anyone from around the world to access the Games, which is very in keeping with the philosophy of NYO — that anyone, Native or non-Native, is welcome to participate in and learn about Alaska Native culture.”

Over the years, Nicole and other NYO officials traveled to schools throughout the state to teach students how to perform Native games. But their travels took them to schools primarily located on the road system. More remote coaches and athletes had to rely on the print NYO Handbook to learn the ins and outs of each event on their own.

Videos, though, can be shared regardless of geography. They also ensure that every student has equal access to standard, informed instruction and can more easily learn the rules and regulations of statewide championship competition. With access to the videos and the accompanying newly revised NYO Handbook, schools can incorporate NYO Games into their year-long physical education and afterschool activities; communities can form functional teams and hold meaningful practices even when led by less experienced or volunteer coaches.

“The Games are about inclusivity,” said Kelly Hurd, CITC Senior Director of Development. “For instance, every body type is welcomed in the Games, which draw on a true multiplicity of talents: each of us has value, each of us has a role. Creating these videos makes the Games all the more inclusive by ensuring that everyone has access to the same instructions and information.”

An estimated 3,000 athletes across the state will be reached each year through the videos and updated Handbook, Kelly added.

Nike’s N7 Fund is dedicated to creating positive experiences in sports and physical activity for Native American and Aboriginal communities throughout North America. Funding is awarded to organizations that support physical activity programming for youth.

Instructional videos can be viewed online at citci.org/partnerships-events/nyo-games/competitive-events/handbook/ and the updated NYO Handbook is available here. Coaches can also request a thumb drive pre-loaded with all thirteen videos by contacting nyo@citci.org or (907) 793-3413.