Greenlandic Arctic Winter Games team reclaims its name

When athletes from Greenland walked in to the opening ceremonies of the Arctic Winter Games in Alaska on Sunday, they walked is as Team Kalaallit Nunaat. 

That’s because the team of young athletes from Greenland has changed its name, reclaiming it to reflect the people who live there. 

The new name, Kalaallit Nunaat, is the name that Greenlandic Inuit use for Greenland. 

Claus Nielsen, chairman of the board for the Arctic Sport Federation in Greenland, told CBC the name better reflects who the team is. 

Claus Nielsen is chairman of the board for the Arctic Sport Federation in Greenland. (David Gunn/CBC )

“We want to use our original name,” Nielsen said. 

“We use our own language,” he added. “Now we go out in the world and say, ‘Kalaallit Nunaat’, that’s our name.'”

Nielsen said not much had to be done to change the name. They applied to have it changed within the Arctic Sport Federation and had it printed it on the team’s uniforms ahead of the games.

People seen from the back hold signs that read 'Kallaallit Nunaat.'
Team Kalaallit Nunaat shows off their uniforms ahead of the opening ceremonies at the 2024 Arctic Winter Games on Sunday. (Peter Sheldon/CBC )

He said other teams wanting to change their names to better reflect Indigenous languages should do so. 

“Just tell them,” he said. “It’s time to let people know our name.”

Nielsen also said he hopes people at the games will take the time to learn the team’s new name,” he said. 

“That’s the main point in everything. You need to learn it.”

The 2024 Arctic Winter Games began yesterday and will run until Saturday in Mat-su Valley, Alaska. 

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