Red River College’s second annual Indigenous winter games kicked off Monday with moose call and moose haul competitions.
“I think it’s really important that Indigenous students, staff, faculty and even non-Indigenous students experience outdoor fun,” said the director of Indigenous support, Maria Morrison.
Morrison was at the college’s Notre Dame campus in Winnipeg to help judge the moose call competition which featured seven students.
One by one, the competitors lined up and did their best impression of a moose.
After the first round, the judges found it difficult to decide a winner and forced a “moose-off” between Mark Ritchot of Winnipeg and Sharnell McDougall of Red Sucker Lake.
After the showdown, Ritchot proved to be victorious and gave an acceptance speech in front of his peers.
“I was just walking by and they asked us to join. I said OK,” said Ritchot.
“It’s probably in my blood. It was a lot of fun.”
In the second event of the games, four teams of three mimicked a “moose haul:” two people carried a third teammate on a medical gurney through the snow, similar to the way a moose would be hauled from the bush during a hunt.
Team Social Innovation took home first place.
Games a chance to socialize
The Indigenous winter games will continue at the college throughout the week featuring, among other events, a staff versus students floor hockey game, snowshoeing and a bannock making competition.
Morrison said the goal of the winter games is to give the students a sense of belonging on campus.
“It creates a sense of community and provides them some laughter and pride in sharing skills,” said Morrison.
The college has seen its Indigenous student population grow over the years and now has over 1,000 self-identified Indigenous students.
“There’s a lot more students out there that are identifying and just being able to provide a place for them to explore their culture, learn more and achieve success in their programs is something that we are looking to do,” said Morrison.
The games continue Tuesday with a hair braiding competition.