WEIO showcases culture, traditional games

by Greg Lincoln

The World Eskimo Indian Olympics 2023 has come to a close after a weekend of folks of all generations coming together to celebrate traditional Alaskan native games, dance, culture, artistry and craftsmanship, and food.

The Big Dipper Ice Arena, the ancestral home of WEIO, was the venue this year. WEIO was first established in 1961. Participants from all over came to join in the festivities including many tourists.

WEIO activities began on Wednesday including the Race of the Messenger. Bethel’s own Claire Dyment placed third in the race to win the bronze medal, finishing the 5K in 25 minutes, 5 seconds.

“I felt good. It was hot out though, that made it harder,” said Dyment who runs for the Bethel Warrior JH cross country team. “When I was running I didn’t know that I was in third. I found out after I finished.”

Coming in first was Kaasgeiy Samato of Juneau and Awaluk Nichols of Nome placed third.

A new award was introduced this year for fish cutters: Best Looking Fish. The inaugural winner of this category was Ariella Derrickson of Tanana. The judge for this award is Miss WEIO and this year the 2022 Miss WEIO Michelle Kaleak had the honor of inspecting the fish to find the one with best beauty of cut. The award, a framed tufted caribou hair piece, was made by Selina Alexander.

In the Maktak Eating Contest, Arnold Phillip of Kwigillingok won first place, eating his piece of arveq in 1 minute, 15 seconds. Coming in second was Diane DuFour of Fairbanks. Her time was 1 minute 42 seconds. Rounding out the top three was American Ninja Warrior Isaiah Waghiyi of Savoonga. His time was 1 minute 50 seconds.

Phillip also won the bronze medals in the Drop the Bomb and the Dena Stick Pull events.

Another American Ninja Warrior contestant Forest Strick participated at WEIO winning gold the Race of the Messenger, third in the Blanket Toss, and second in Drop the Bomb – will be having his premier showing for ANW this Monday.

Colton Paul of Kipnuk was named the Outstanding Athlete at this year’s WEIO games. He won gold in the Scissor Broad Jump, Kneel Jump, the One and Two Foot High Kicks, and third in the Knuckle Hop. His brother Christian Paul of Utqiagvik is this year’s gold medalist in the Knuckle Hop.

The Sportsmanship Award was given to Kaasgeiy Samato of Juneau.

Chevak’s Casey Ferguson who lives in Eagle River won the Alaskan High Kick with a final height of 92 inches.

Elders enjoyed delicious dinners, tea and water, camaraderie, and the WEIO atmosphere at the Elders’ Lounge on the main floor of the Big Dipper. There they could watch the events while socializing with their friends. Quyana!

World Eskimo Indian Olympics Results

July 12-15, 2023

Fairbanks, Alaska

Scissor Broad Jump


1st: Jade Wren, Anchorage, 26 ft 9 1/2 in

2nd: Alice Johnston, Palmer, 25 ft 9 1/2 in

3rd: Eden Hopson, Anchorage, 24 ft 6 3/4 in


1st: Colton Paul, Kipnuk, 36 ft 9 3/4 in

2nd: Nick Hanson, Unalakleet, 35 ft 3 3/4 in

3rd: Bernard Clark, Wasilla 32 ft 1 3/4 in

4 Man Carry

1st: Iosefa Allen, Juneau, 161 feet 5 1/2 inches

2nd: Walter Hawkins, Anchorage, 155 feet

3rd: Sido Evans, Fairbanks, 149 feet 3 1/2 inches

Kneel Jump


1st: Amber Vaska, Fairbanks, 48 3/4 in

2nd: Veronica McDonald, Yellowknife 43 in

3rd: Alice Johnston, Palmer, 39 3/4 in


1st: Colton Paul, Kipnuk, 62 1/4 in

2nd: Kyle Worl, Juneau, 55 1/4 in

3rd: Davin Malzahn, Fairbanks, 52 1/2 in (Tiebreak 51 3/4)

One Hand Reach


1st: Kylirose Paniptchuk, Fairbanks, 60 inches

2nd: Alice Johnston, Palmer, 58 inches

3rd: Eden Hopson, Anchorage, 56 inches


1st: Bernard Clark, Wasilla, 68 inches

2nd: Matthew Chagluak, Anchorage, 66 inches

3rd: Parker Kenick, Nome, 64 inches

Race of the Messenger


1st: Kaasgeiy Samato, Juneau, 22 min

2nd: Awaluk Nichols, Nome, 23 min 51 sec

3rd: Claire Dyment, Bethel, 25 min 5 sec


1st: Forest Strick, Wasilla, 18 min 23 sec

2nd: David Kokrine, Fairbanks, 19 min 1 sec

TIE 3rd: Finley Hightower, Juneau, 19 min 21 sec

TIE 3rd: Rodney Evans, Fairbanks, 19 min 21 sec

Blanket Toss


1st: Marjorie Tahbone, Nome

2nd: Allison Jack, Juneau

3rd: Alohna Johnson, Nome


1st: Nick Hanson, Unalakleet

2nd: Matthew Quinto, Juneau

3rd: Forest Strick, Wasilla

Fish Cutting

1st: Marjorie Tahbone, Nome, 40.27 seconds

2nd: Asaaluk Nichols, Nome, 57.32 seconds

3rd: Flora Rexford, Kaktovik, 1 min 15.14 seconds

Best Looking Fish

1st: Ariela Derrickson, Tanana

Inuit Stick Pull


1st: Ariella Derrickson, Tanana

2nd: Julee-Anna Preuit, Anchorage

3rd: Kaasgeiy Samato, Juneau


1st: Sido Evans, Fairbanks

2nd: David Edwards, Fairbanks

3rd: Walter Hawkins, Anchorage

Alaskan High Kick


1st: Eden Hopson, Anchorage, 70 inches

2nd: Sara Steeves, Juneau, 66 inches

3rd: Alice Johnston, Palmer, 66 inches 2 misses


1st: Casey Ferguson, Eagle River, 92 inches

2nd: Colton Paul, Kipnuk, 90 inches

3rd: Alexavier Covey, Anchorage, 90 inches 5 misses

Maktak Eating

1st: Arnold Phillip, Kwigillingok, 1 min 15 sec

2nd: Diane DuFour, Fairbanks, 1 min 42 sec

3rd: Isaiah Waghiyi, Savoonga, 1 min 50 sec

Dena Stick Pull


1st: Marjorie Tahbone, Nome

2nd: Nicole Johnson, Anchorage

3rd: Katlyn Smith, Nome


1st: Forest Strick, Wasilla

2nd: Ezra Elisoff, Juneau

3rd: Arnold Phillip, Kwigillingok

Drop the Bomb

1st: Isaiah Waghiyi, Savoonga, 53.56 seconds

2nd: Forest Strick, Wasilla, 24.78 seconds

3rd: Arnold Phillip, Kwigillingok, 20.4 seconds

Two Foot High Kick


1st: Alice Johnston, Palmer, 78 inches

2nd: Amber Vaska, Fairbanks, 72 inches

3rd: Veronica McDonald, Yellowknife, 66 inches 1 miss


1st: Colton Paul, Kipnuk, 100 inches

2nd: Parker Kenick, Nome, 92 inches

3rd Andrew Kashevarof, Anchorage, 90 inches

Ear Pull


1st: Caroline Wiseman, Anchorage

2nd: Flora Rexford, Kaktovik

3rd: Amanda Ahsogeak, Fairbanks


1st: Frank M Lane, Kotzebue

2nd: Frank Louis Lane, Anchorage

3rd: Paris Hebel, Nome

Bench Reach


1st: Denali Glenzel, Kailua-Kona, 32 1/2 inches

2nd: Kaasgeiy Samato, Juneau, 31 3/4 inches

3rd: Alice Johnston, Palmer, 30 1/2 inches


1st: Nick Hanson, Unalakleet, 49 inches

2nd: Paris Hebel, Nome, 45 1/4 inches

3rd: Matthew Quinto, Juneau, 41 3/4 inches

Arm Pull


1st: Nicole Johnson, Anchorage

2nd: Brittany Woods-Orrison, Fairbanks

3rd: Noel Strick, Wasilla


1st: Sido Evans, Fairbanks

2nd: Glenn Suvlu, Barrow

3rd: Brandon VanHatten, Fairbanks

Greased Pole Walk


1st: Veronica McDonald, Yellowknife, 25 1/2 inches

2nd: Alohna Johnson, Nome, 23 1/2 inches

3rd: Awaluk Nichols, Nome, 18 1/2 inches


1st: Peter Griggs, Anchorage, 63 inches

2nd: Elijah Cabinboy, Anchorage, 50 3/4 inches

3rd: Nick Hanson, Unalakleet, 38 1/4 inches

One Foot High Kick


1st: Alice Johnston, Palmer, 91 inches

2nd: Daisy Vanblarcom, Wasilla, 82 inches

3rd: Amber Vaska, Fairbanks, 78 inches


1st: Colton Paul, Kipnuk, 112 inches

2nd: Parker Kenick, Nome, 108 inches

TIE 3rd: Bernard Clark, Wasilla, 104 inches 1 miss

TIE 3rd: Matthew Quinto, Juneau, 104 inches 1 miss

Ear Weight

1st: Frank M Lane, Kotzebue; 1,203 feet 6 1/2 inches

2nd: Frank L Lane, Anchorage, 543 feet 9 3/4 inches

3rd: Leroy Shangin, Anchorage, 345 feet

Knuckle Hop

1st: Christian Paul, Utqiagvik, 123 feet 2 1/2 inches

2nd: Nick Hanson, Unalakleet, 115 feet 4 inches

3rd: Colton Paul, Kipnuk, 97 feet 5 1/2 inches

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The Delta Discovery

The Delta Discovery

The Delta Discovery, Inc. is a Native owned and operated weekly publication dedicated to the free exchange of ideas and issues of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta

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