About this website

Hello my name is Darren Wicks, I am a Physical Education/Science teacher at Chief Jimmy Bruneau School, in Rae-Edzo, Northwest Territories. I would like to thank all the students who participated in the Dene Games over the years, and whose photos appear on this site. I am indebted to the Elders -†Ms. Elizabeth Mackenzie, Mr. George Blondin, Mr. Joe Migwi and Mr. Suzi Mackenzie for passing on stories of how the games were played in the past. And finally, a special thanks to my partners, the Dogrib Community Services Board, Sport North, Municipal and Community Affairs and Community and Jeff at Outcrop for their encouragement and support.

For more information and educational resources, click here.

An Introduction to the Dene Games

The historical and on-going process of colonization and globalization has created pressures on Aboriginal languages and cultures so that each day Aboriginal people around the world Aboriginal people around the world are losing their identity, their culture. Often this is a result of many external influences such as television, video games, music, changing attitudes, socio-economic issues and more importantly the loss of their language. I believe as an educator in an Aboriginal community, it is oneís responsibility to help in what ever ways one can to prevent this from happening. I believe it is essential that I give my students the opportunity to learn and explore their culture. And I believe I can do so through the games. Games are an important way to understand a peopleís worldview and playing and understanding Dene Games will help both Dene and non-Dene understand important aspects of Dene culture. These games are called Dene Games and they had a very significant importance in the life and ultimately the survival of the Dene People. In the past the Dene survived by living off the land, hunting and fishing, and these games enabled the people to stay fit and prepared, as well as offering a form of entertainment during the cold and dark winter months.

At Chief Jimmy Bruneau Regional High School students learn about the Dene Games in their Physical Education classes, as part of the Dene Kede curriculum. Students take part in these games beginning in grade 3 and continue to polish their Dene Games skills right into Physical Education 10-20-30 classes. Students learn about the historical perspectives of each game, the rules, and actively take part in class and school-wide competitions. It is my goal to incorporate all this information in this educational medium so ultimately this information can be used as an educational tfool or teachers and coaches of the Northwest Territories, Canada and all over the world. This website will give other communities around the world an understanding and perspective of Dene Games, the culture and the Dene identity. Additionally, it is my hope that this resource will help preserve a rich and vibrant culture through physical activity.

This website offers many exciting opportunities for teachers, students, parents and community. The website has many components of Dene Games education. The website encompasses lesson plans of the five Dene Games, with rules, pictures, short videos and projects that can be utilized in the classroom. As well, there are components of stretching and strength training exercises that parallel these Dene Games. During my research four Elders were interviewed to seek their traditional knowledge of skills of Dene Games. These stories are available here. The site will also feature a number of additional resources, such as the Chief Jimmy Bruneau Regional High School Dene Games Tournament DVD. This past December 2004 Chief Jimmy Bruneau Regional High School hosted a Dene Games Tournament for our young Dene Games athletes. Over 100 students from communities of Ft. Providence, Rae Lakes, Snare Lakes, Dettah, díNilo and Rae-Edzo participated. These young athletes ranged in ages from 8 years old to 18 years old. It was a wonderful celebration of Dene culture and traditions. In this site I have included lists of contacts of other expert people and organizations in the Dene Games field that can help you promote and provide this fantastic opportunity. And take advantage of the tournament section which offers advice and downloads of the different tournament draws. I hope you enjoy your Dene Games experience.

Masi Cho.

June 2005