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Dena Games

These are some of the traditional games played by the indigenous, Dena (Athabascan), people of
Interior Alaska, Canada and the Northern Lower 48 states.

Interested in volunteering for this event?
Email your contact info & the dates you are available to

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Snow Snake

Snow Snake is a traditional game played during the winter. The game was played by men to display and practice the skill needed to hunt small game during the winter months.  The object of the game is to throw the snow snake the farthest distance along a smooth track made in the snow. In modern times both males and females compete in Snow Snake.

The 'snakes' will be provided.

Hand Games

The Dene Hand Game is a guessing game where individual players or teams of players hide objects in one of their hands. The other team must guess which hand the object is in in order to score points – be careful though, points can be stolen! The game is customarily accompanied by traditional drumming and singing.

NOTE: The venue floor used for the March 2022 games does not allow outside shoes - bring slippers or be prepared to wear your socks. Cubbies provided for outside footwear.

Children under 13 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Pop Scramble

The Pop Scramble is a modern addition and is just a bit of fun for youngsters.

Children are grouped by age and run to grab as much soda pop out of the snow as they can carry.

Everyone is a winner!

Snowshoe Races

Snowshoe racers using traditional handmade snowshoes are grouped by gender. They snowshoe a designated distance. The frontrunners have the extra task of breaking trail for those behind them. 

Strategy is key!

Snowshoes are not provided.

Photo Courtesy Wendy Rose-Ey & Zaphira Ey


The March 17-20, 2022 Dena Games sponsored by WEIO are open to everyone regardless of ethnicity and all events are free to participants and visitors.
Special thanks to the Alaska Dog Mushers Association for hosting the weekend events.

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