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Cadet Nathan Wdowach, 14, of Wadena, Sask., goes for the cup during the first Inuit games day to be held at the Whitehorse Cadet Summer Training Centre in the Yukon earlier this month. - photo courtesy of Patrick Kelly

Cadets celebrate a day of pride

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 15, 2007

WHITEHORSE - Inuit culture took centre stage for a day at the Whitehorse Cadet Summer Training Centre in the Yukon earlier this month.

About 175 cadets from Canada and England took part in the first Inuit games day ever held at the centre.

The centre's commanding officer, Maj. Chris Barron, came up with the idea after talking to a Northern cadet officer about ways to increase awareness of Northern culture at the camp.

Barron said learning about other cultures is one reason cadets come to the camp.

He said the games gave Nunavut cadets a chance to share a part of Inuit culture with their southern compatriots.

"We talked to the cadets throughout the day and a number of them were surprised by how physical Inuit games are," said Barron.

"We had people of all ages and ranks try the games, and the Northern kids really enjoyed teaching them.

"A number of southern cadets couldn't get over how some Inuit kids could jump eight feet in the air to kick a ball hanging on a string.

"Then they would try and land on their butts on the side of the mat."

Barron said even when the event was officially over, groups of cadets stayed on the parade square to play the games they enjoyed most.

He said that showed him the games were a big hit with the southern kids.

"Inuit games day will remain an annual part of the summer camp as long as I'm the commanding officer.

"You could see the Northern kids were proud to have a part of their culture in the spotlight for a day.

"Their pride and happiness in teaching some of their games to southern kids was quite evident.

"Some of them were simply beaming as they taught Inuit games to kids from across Canada and England."

Barron plans to hold the next Inuit games day on the first Sunday of the 2008 camp.

He said that will give Northern cadets a chance to enjoy early success at the camp while working and interacting with kids from the south.

"Holding Inuit games day during the first week will create a stronger bond between the kids.

"It will also increase the self-confidence of the Northern kids at an early stage of the camp."