Inuit Sports and Games

High Kick - Photo Johnny IssalukInuit love competition and sport as much as anyone. Sports around the world unite people in frenship and friendly competition. In the case of Inuit games primarily were born from two different needs. The first being a neccesity to be strong, fit and agile which improved hunting and survivability in northern regions.  The stronger and more fit you are the better you able able to fight illness, traverse distances, maintain mental discliple etc. The other need for many of the games entertained those during long hours out on the land, especially during long periods of darkness. If a family was facing hard times due to food shortages etc., keeping spririts up helped to get through dificult times. Some of these games offered a necessary distraction.  Below are some brief descriptions of Inuit games. To see some demonstrations of Inuit games view our video podcast from the podcast menu or click here.  

Kneel Jump

The player must jump up from a kneeling position and spring themselves forward to jump as far as they can. The winner travels the farthest distance forward. 

Knuckle Hop

A test of pain and endurance this event can be performed as a race among several players or a test of distance. The player(s) starts out in a push up position except instead of being on the flat palms of the hand players must hop forward on their knuckles.

Alaskan High Kick

The player places one hand on the ground to support the player and then with one foot attempts to kick a target hanging over them. To make this more difficult the other part of this game involves the player holding their their non kicking foot and not let go while they perform the jump.

One Foot High Kick

One of the most difficult and visually impressive events, the one foot high is accomplished by sweeping arms from behind to front, jumping from two feet as hih as possible while kicking a hanging target then coming down to a controlled landing on the kicking foot.

Two Foot High Kick

Basically it is the same concept as the one foot high kick only the taget is kicked with two feet and the player must land on two feet.

Back Push

Two players sit on the floor back to back, knees bent and players reach around behind them selves and interlock their arms. Then then begin to push the other player as far as possible and push the other player out of a designated area.

Musox Push or Mushox Fight

This game resembles two Muskox fighting for supremacy.  Player take up position on their hands and knees facing each other. The players each place their heads under their opponents under arm and try to push their oponent out of a certain area.  It is also one of the rules that each player keep their hands on the floor.


Leg Wrestle

Two players lie on their backs on the floor, side by side yet in opposed directions. The players hook arms at the elbow. After counting to three the players raise their inside legs and hook each other at the knee. The players must keep their other leg on the ground at all times, fully extended. The object of the game is use the strength of the hooked leg to pull their opponent off their back.

Other Sports and Games

Inuit of today do not just play traditional Inuit games, like any other place in Canada kids and adults love to take place in a variety of sports but the leading sport in many communities is hockey.  Whether in the street or local arenas. That's not to say other sports are passed up, soccer, baseball etc. all have found their preferred players.