The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics start Wednesday in Fairbanks, with qualifiers for events like one-armed reach and the Race of the Torch ahead of opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. inside the Carlson Center.
WEIO started in 1961 as a way to bring athletes and dancers from across Alaska together for competitions and celebration. Since then it has grown into a days-long event, comprised of tournament-style athletic competition, as well as pageantry showcasing skills like skin-sewing, and recognizing ongoing achievement in cultural practices.
WEIO has also served as an organizational body for establishing uniform standards for native games from around diverse parts of the state. It is one of the reigning authorities in the world on records for events played across the circumpolar North, like one-foot high kick, knuckle hop, and ear-pull–games rooted in testing and strengthening abilities necessary for subsistence.
This year’s WEIO tournament through Saturday, with the full schedule of events available here.