P my name is Pana
I live in Paulatuk, Canada
My friend’s name is Pinga
We like to play Blanket
We speak Sallirmiutun
And now we’ll say “Qakugulu“
This is probably the most widely recognized game of the First Nation Inuvialuit people. A large group of “pullers” gathers around the edges of a blanket to stretch it out. One person climbs into the center. The pullers rhythmically raise and lower the blanket while the person in the center remains standing. On a signal, the blanket is pulled tight and the person is tossed in the air. The person is expected to keep his balance and return upright. Skilled persons are able to turn and flip!
The blanket toss originated with Inuvialuit hunters. Someone who was tossed into the air could spot caribou, whales or other animals in the distance. The blanket was originally made from seal or walrus skins. Today, many of the blankets are made from a canvas material.
Welcome to my 2019 Blogging A-Z Challenge. Each day in the the month of April (except Sundays), I will bring you a memory of games and a jump rope song. It is similar to the classic A My Name Is… Do you recognize the chant? A world of children will greet their friends and skip through the alphabet alliterating their name, a friend’s name, and their home city. They will also state their country, the language they speak, and their favorite game. Descriptions of the games are included. I chose games that are played on playgrounds or streets where children negotiate their teams and terms. You may recognize your favorite games that differ only in name. As the alphabet progresses, it becomes apparent that the pursuit of laughter and fun are universal.
Antoinette Truglio Martin is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. The memoir is a wimpy patient’s journey through her first year of breast cancer treatment.