Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Northern Indigenous Games will be held for a week in April


(Bemidji) The Northern Indigenous Games will be held for a week in April from Minneapolis to Bemidji. The events feature indigenous athletes and coaches presenting traditional games played by various cultures throughout North America.

“These games are centuries old and are continuing to be played by the indigenous people,” said event director Dan Ninham of Red Lake. “We are providing an outstanding opportunity for people of all races to actively participate in and observe these games.”

Plans also include an indigenous games instructor, official and games management certification program administered by Ninham. “We plan to train the trainers to take the games back to their home communities and to

continue the indigenous games movement that is happening throughout the world.”

Major influences to hold these events are from current programs held throughout the world. The inaugural World Indigenous Games were held in Brazil last fall featuring indigenous athletes participating in their games. The North American Indigenous Games feature indigenous people playing contemporary games.

“Our Northern Indigenous Games are unique in that we are providing a bodies on experience for youth in grades kindergarten to high school seniors to adults to play the indigenous games of our indigenous people,” added Ninham. Family participation is encouraged.

The events are non competitive and no awards will be provided. Indigenous games have historically been played to honor someone in a community, to be a part of the healing process, to train for warfare and to settle differences.

“The instructors will present not only how to play the game but why we play the game. The physical activities are considered the “Games of Life” and have many connections that are life long lessons in how we think, behave and feel,” added Ninham. “Efforts will also include indigenizing the school and university curriculum throughout the country with the influences of the regional indigenous cultures.”

Minneapolis South High School will be the first to host the tour of Northern Indigenous Games on April 17. Other locations will be: April 18, Upper Sioux Community, Granite Falls; April 19, Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe, Onamia School District; April 20, White Earth Nation; April 21, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Walker Hackensack Akeley School District; April 20, Red Lake Nation, Red Lake; April 21, Red Lake Nation, Ponemah. During the school week guest indigenous games instructors will present in school physical education classes. An after school session is also planned in each community.

Bemidji State University (BSU) will be hosting the Northern Indigenous Games on April 22 to 24. A film screening will be on April 22, featuring Brown University doctoral student, filmmaker and former NJCAA National Cross Country Champion Angelo Baca (Navajo/Hopi) will be held at the BSU American Indian Resource Center. BSU American Indian Resource Center will also host a Symposium on April 23 featuring indigenous perspectives of the indigenous games. Nine people from seven different tribes will present for 15 minutes each on the sociocultural significance

of their activities they will lead on April 24 at the BSU Chet Anderson Field and other fields on campus.

Pre registration is required to participate in the Bemidji State University hosted film screening, symposium and indigenous games. All events are free. For a schedule, poster and registration form, check The BSU events are presented by the Indian Health Service Bemidji Area Health Promotions, BSU American Indian Resource Center, Oshkiimaajitahdah Program, Sanford Health, Honor the

Earth, and the Indigenous Education Network of Turtle Island.

For additional information contact Dan Ninham at 218.368.6430 or


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