Coast Guard sponsors 2012 World Eskimo-Indian Olympics

Cmdr. James Robinson, a 17th Coast Guard District arctic operations coordinator, Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, 17th District commander, and Coast Guard Auxiliary Cmdr. Kenneth Jacobs, admissions liaison for the Auxiliary, pose for a photo at the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics July 18, 2012. These Coast Guard representatives traveled to Fairbanks for the event to inform members of rural communities about Coast Guard career opportunities. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Sarah Morin

Story by Caitlin Goettler

Tribal partnerships have long been an integral part of the Coast Guard in Alaska, and today the connection continues through the Coast Guard’s sponsorship of the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics.

The games kicked off on July 18 and will continue through July 21 in Fairbanks. The games are held every year, with the event designed to bring together various groups of Alaska Natives for friendly competition, to honor their culture and reflect upon their history.

WEIO contestants compete for medals in the knuckle hop, four-man carry, ear pull, Alaskan high kick, and the Nalukataq blanket toss, among other traditional games. The games also include dance performances, contests and demonstrations in harpoon throwing, fish cutting and seal skinning. Together, these events bring to light the physical challenges early Alaska Natives had to face on a day-to-day basis.

Because the WEIO attracts people from some of the most remote areas of the state, the games also serve as an opportunity for the Coast Guard to reach out to groups they otherwise would have little to no contact with.

That’s why in addition to the Coast Guard’s financial donation, Rear Adm. Thomas Ostebo, 17th Coast Guard District commander, traveled to Fairbanks with other Coast Guard personnel to inform participants and the public about education and career opportunities within the organization.

The Coast Guard also sponsored the WEIO in 2011 and 2010.

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