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Native Games, 2011, Wrap-Up

Our 5th Annual "H.O.Y.E." ("Help Our Youth Excel") Native Games kicked off yesterday afternoon with great enthusiasm! After gathering snugly under canopies while the snow and rain blessed the field, we circled up and asked an Elder for an opening prayer--for safety on the shinny field, for the people who could not be there to play, for the ominous fate of people across the ocean in Japan, for these challenging times in which we are living. Click on "read more" under photos!

As shinny teams were officially formed for this tournament, our Elder-friend who made the prayer reminded the players to carry these thoughts and prayers with them as they played.

As we circled and took time to hear these opening words, the snow stopped falling and the sun came out. And thus, the Games kicked off to a field of sunshine and plenty of mud to run around in, amping up the fun and skill challenges! Danny finally got the P.A system fixed and going again, allowing his famed MC narration skills to flow, poking plenty of fun at the players and the grand array of playing styles. A great time was had by all, and after a double-elimination process, Sergio's team "Firefly," ferociously snagged the Grand Master Champion position from NASU's "Noble Savages," who held that undefeated title for three years running under Burr's expert team captain-ship! Congratulations for Sergio and his family! And our respect to Burr and his new title as Big Daddy to new baby! As the big people teams rested between high-powered games, the younger kids got out on the field and played a few rounds, promising to us olders that there will be future generations of shinny players to carry forth this tradition.

The day was further blessed by a visit from the Native Vets from the Veterans Administration Domiciliary who brought a big box of picnic lunches for the participants~what a welcomed treat! Also, closing Ceremonies included songs by Whistling Elk Singers, and gifting of Grand Champ awards to the winning team. We had an easy take-down and clean-up, thanks to everyone on the field helping out. Much appreciated!

We'd also like to acknowledge that the purpose behind the Native Games is to build health and wellness within ourselves and our community. The Games were originally chosen as one of Red Earth Descendants' four main events during the year to strengthen our commitment to physical, and thus, overall health.

We'd like to thank the following folks for their help and support in sponsoring the Games this year: Briscoe ArtWing for their beautiful field and space, Native American Student Union of SOU, McKenzine River Gathering for their funding, Native Program at the Veterans Domiciliary in White City for the box of sack picnic lunches they brought over, our dedicated Red Earth Descendants volunteers and cheerleaders from under the warmth of the blanketed sidelines, Whistling Elk Singers, and last but not least, the PLAYERS who have been practicing weekly all this past winter!

There have been many requests for the weekly Games to continue, and for another tournament to happen in the summer. We will do our best to make this all happen. We plan to host a tournament at our annual Elder~Youth Conference in mid-June. Watch for details, and always remember to check our website for further information: