ACFN girl designs Arctic Winter Games mascot, Nitotem the Lynx

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The 2022 Arctic Winter Games officially have their mascot, Nitotem the Lynx. The winning design was announced Tuesday after the search for a mascot began in April.

Nitotem, which is Cree for “my friend,” was designed by Sadie Antoine, 12. She is a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.

During a Wednesday interview, Antoine said she chose a lynx because she likes drawing cats and dogs. The parka worn by Nitotem has designs and symbols often found on other parkas in indigenous communities.

“It show a little Aboriginal culture and how nice it looks,” she said.

The design was chosen from more than 40 submissions. When Antoine learned her design had been picked, she was “nervous and excited at the same time.”

“In Fort McMurray, there’s not really any art competitions or any way to show your artistic talent,” she said. “So I immediately decided to start drawing Nitotem.”

The mascot was officially revealed at McMurray Aviation on Tuesday. During the announcement, Antoine wore a shawl with the ACFN logo on the front, while an eagle on the back represents the Athabasca Chipewyan and Mikisew Cree First Nations.


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“I am very proud of the mascot design Sadie created and how it was brought to life by our dedicated team,” said Kim Rizzi, general manager of the Wood Buffalo 2022 Arctic Winter Games, in a release. “We look forward to seeing Nitotem at events around the region sharing his excitement for the Games.”

The unveiling also launches the Mascot Program. It will promote the games and support educational, cultural and community engagement initiatives. The program is sponsored by A.P.E. Maintenance Ltd.

Wood Buffalo was named host of the international games in February 2019, beating Grande Prairie for the top spot. The region last hosted the games in 2004.

For the upcoming games, nearly 2,000 athletes, coaches and cultural delegates will arrive from from northern Alberta, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, Yukon and the Nunavik region covering northern Quebec. Athletes from parts of Norway, Finland and Russia will also compete.

The games are scheduled to take place from March 6 to 12, 2022.

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