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Indigenous Handgames Tournament

When: June 25, 2022 (Saturday)
10:00am to 4:30pm

Where: Calgary Stampede Grounds – South Park

This tournament (non-cash prizes) is open to corporations, companies or organizations/agencies.

Tournament Schedule will be displayed here June 22, 2022

Contact:
Danny @ handgames@aawc.ca

What are Indigenous Handgames?

Handgames are a culturally based competition that have been played for centuries by Indigenous Peoples across North America. Two teams of five players sit across from each other in a line. While traditional drumming and music is played, one team works to hide objects in their hands, passing them between team members while the opposing team has to guess where the objects are hidden. 

The object of the game is to guess correctly so your team wins all the hidden objects.

Why have teams compete?

Aboriginal Awareness Week has been celebrated in Calgary since the early 1990s, offering many events and opportunities for all Calgarians to learn about and celebrate with Indigenous Peoples. Bringing handgames to the AAWC festivities is another way for Calgary’s business community to authentically learn with Indigenous Peoples.

Each of the 20 teams that signs up will be connected with a local Indigenous Knowledge Keeper who will teach them about handgames and act as a cultural guide and coach in the weeks leading up to the competition. Each team will also be connected with a drummer who will provide traditional music for their team when they compete.

While many of Calgary’s businesses have embraced AAWC and celebrate National Indigenous Peoples’ Day on June 21st, participating in this culturally based event offers businesses a unique opportunity to authentically practice reconciliation by being an active participant in (not just an observer of) Indigenous cultural activities with humour, humility, and respect.

Who should sign up?

Any organization that is looking to advance reconciliation and sees themselves as part of Calgary’s business community is welcome to participate. In our inaugural year, we’re keeping the limit to 20 teams, so we encourage you to reserve your spot today!

Check out this article “Traditional Indigenous hand game brings energy to Elbow River Camps to learn more about how handgames have been played at the Calgary Stampede’s Elbow River Camp for years.

During a demonstration of a traditional Indigenous hand game at Elbow River Camp, Karen Three Suns snags a stick from Noran Calf Robe, putting her team in the lead. 
PHOTO BY STEPHANIE BABYCH/POSTMEDIA

What else should we know?

  • The participation fees will be used to offset costs of the event and support AAWC celebrations.
  • Each team will receive traditionally made handgame sticks in their corporate colours to use in the competition.
  • Each team must connect with an Indigenous Knowledge Keeper/Cultural Advisor and drummer who will support them to learn and play the game. If teams do not have existing relationships with an appropriate Indigenous Knowledge Keeper/Cultural Advisor, the AAWC committee will provide that connection and support you to approach the relationship in a good way. Please note that cultural protocol costs for working with the Knowledge Keeper and drummers are the responsibility of each participating company.

Videos of “Hand Games”

June 19 -25, 2022

“Keeping the Circle Strong through
Language and Culture.”

AAWC Circle Presents

June 19, 2022 (Sunday)
Indigenous Variety Showcase

June 25, 2022, (Saturday)
Indigenous Handgames
Tournament

June 25, 2022, (Saturday)
National Indigenous
Family Day & POWOW

Thank you 2022 sponsors & partners

AAWC Circle

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