Ever heard of Nalukataq? It’s a traditional Eskimo blanket toss in which a person stands in the middle of a massive walrus skin and is thrown up to 30 feet high in the air by blanket pullers. It’s also one of the most popular competitions at the World Eskimo Indian Olympics (WEIO), which was held in Fairbanks, Alaska in July and sponsored by Fort Knox.
The four-day event, which focuses on Native American cultural practices and traditions, includes games rooted in ancestral hunting and survival techniques, as well as dance and storytelling competitions. To win at Nalukataq, competitors must land on their feet without falling and are judged on balance, height, and movements in the air (pictured below).
Female participant in the traditional blanket toss event, Nalukataq. Photo credit: Greg Martin
Male participant in the traditional blanket toss event, Nalukataq. Photo credit: Greg Martin