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AWG PREVIEW: Cultural events on tap at AWG

Did you know that the three interlocking rings in the AWG logo symbolize athletic competition, social exchange, and cultural exhibition?

I’ve talked a lot about the different sports you’ll get to see during the Arctic Winter Games in Fort Smith and in Hay River (in less than a month now!) and so this week, I want to shake things up and talk about the cultural component of the games because it’s important for us to honour art and culture from across the circumpolar north.

During the games, it is tradition for each contingent to bring a cultural delegation. The delegation consists of youth performers who show off their diverse talents throughout the event, with a final cultural gala performance to wrap up the week.

This year, the gala will take place on March 23 at 6:00 p.m. at the St. Joseph Cathedral in Fort Smith. The two-hour show is always a crowd favourite, so make sure you don’t wait to get your tickets.

The Inuksuk Drum Dancers represented Nunavut in the 2016 Arctic Winter Games cultural gala. They were, from left, Sinisiaq Ikkidluak, Tooma Dianna Laisa, Olivia Chislett, Leanna Wilson, Rosalie Suclan and Madaline Allakariallak. NNSL file photo

This year we will be seeing plenty of drumming and dancing: we’ve got Team NWT bringing the Tuktoyaktuk Siglit Drummers and Dancers, Team Alaska with the Yup'ik Drummers and Dancers traditional drum and dance groups and Team Alberta will be showcasing the Happy Joy Steppers, an African dance group who will be sharing an Afrobeats dance with us.

Both Team Nunavik and Team Nunavut are bringing drum dancing and throat singing performers. Meanwhile, Team Greenland, Team Sapmi, and Team Yamal will be treating us to a variety of vocal concerts. I can’t wait to hear these performances in the magnificent venue – I’m sure they will sound amazing.

The cultural delegates, who are busy preparing their performances right now, will also be kept busy throughout the games by performing daily for the community. Once we have this schedule finalized, we’ll post it on our website ( and share it on our social media channels because we don’t want anyone to miss out on getting to experience these awesome acts.

Next week, we’ll continue our conversation on culture by talking about the Cultural Marketplace and Festival, the Traditional Dolls exhibit, and the contingent exhibits.