PRSD hosts 11th Annual Hand Games Competition

PRSD hosts 11th Annual Hand Games Competition

On Friday May 5, 2017, hundreds of Peace River School Division (PRSD) students from grades 4 to 12 will join together for PRSD’s Annual Pakisiwin (Hand) Games Competition at Hines Creek Composite School. This is the 11th year of PRSD’s divisional hand games competition, which is a traditional First Nations Metis and Inuit game dated back hundreds of years.

“The PRSD Hand Games Competition is a high-spirited event that brings students from across the division together to honour and celebrate this important First Nations Metis and Inuit tradition” says PRSD Board Chair Darren Kuester. “It teaches students good sportsmanship, how to relate to one and other, leadership, cooperation and most importantly, it is a celebration of First Nations Metis and Inuit culture, and our students have a lot of fun.”

Hand games can also be known as the “bone game” or “hand stick game” and have been a part of First Nation’s history for hundreds of years and are still played in many parts of North America. Historically the games were played as a means of trading goods as well as for social entertainment. While specifics of the game vary by region it is traditionally played as a hiding and guessing game where players use lively gestures and chanting to distract their opponents and ensure they do not guess in which hand they are hiding an item. Winners are awarded sticks and eventually the winning team will have all or a majority of the sticks. The game is also accompanied by traditional drumming.

Teams will be divided into three groups that combine students from grades 4-6, grades 7-9 and 10-12: Teams will compete against different teams in the division which will result in a round-robin style tournament with single elimination playoffs. The games will begin at 10:30 am with the smudging of the drummers and will end at 2 pm with an awards ceremony

“The hand games competition provides students an opportunity to compete, share and participate in First Nation Metis and Inuit traditions” says Karen Penney. “The competition is open to all students as it is important that the First Nation Metis and Inuit culture be embraced and celebrated in all of our schools and communities.”