The Dene people have been playing Hand Games for many centuries. The Arctic Winter Games features Dene Games due to their unique place in the history and societal structure of the Dene people. The Dene Games teach physical skills like dexterity, stretching and agility, and hand-eye coordination, but also group skills that teach working as a team, leadership skills and more. These games reinforce the power of Dene culture and the traditional ways that people were able to have fun on the land.
“The Hand Games were played years ago as a form of gambling among friends and different groups. Often the games were played to gamble for bullets, furs, dogs, toboggans, or stick matches. Today, however, the Hand Game is played in cultural centres, community carnivals and other events all over the Dene country as a friendly competition fostering community pride. The Hand Game is based on a simple concept of hiding and guessing of objects using elaborate hand signals and gestures to both find the object and hide the object.” – Dene Games
To learn more about the Dene Games and how to play them, visit Dene Games.
CBC, July 17, 2017: Dene Hand Games Surge in Popularity Among Northern Youth