Strength for Cultural Tradition
At the end of July 2011 the Yup’ik Women’s Coalition and the Emmonak Women’s Shelter sponsored a double elimination basketball tournament. We had a total of 10 mens teams and 6 ladies teams from the surrounding villages. The tournament lasted a good four days.
Throughout the tournament we kept the games running and the crowd excited. The games lasted all day from noon to midnight. We sold meals and concessions. We had a bunch of exciting games that made the audience loud with their cheers and enjoyment for their star players.
We kept the admission low for more involvement from the villages. In doing so it has brought the communities together. Because we’re a non-profit organization we didn’t have trophies to give to the winners and runner-ups. So instead we handed home-made pillows and blankets which the players were excited for. Before the passing out of the gifts our director, Lenora Hootch, had the staff stand in front of the crowd and she briefly introduced how the shelter operates. She also explained to the youth how life is so important and to talk to someone when in need and that any of our staff are here to help.
When all the games were over, we had people come over to us and thank us for having such an event. In a way the event kept our people busy as well as having something to look forward to. We had many volunteers young and old to help get the games going and the selling of snacks.
Before the tournament, my co-workers and I signed papers for the gymnasium’s usage. We were declined a couple of times. So one of my co-workers and I set up a petition and wrote a letter to the main office of the Lower Yukon School District and Board members. These efforts resulted where our gym use request was finally approved. We then wrote a bunch of donation letters to company’s for the tournament. After that we made schedule after schedule and hung posters throughout our community. We also sent out text messages to our family and friends about the status of the tournament. We made a lot of phone calls and received many as well. In the end the whole event was worth it. Everything turned out great and the people enjoyed the activity.