Established in 1968 as a non-profit, Arctic Winter Games Team Alaska (AWGTA) cultivates and celebrates sport, social exchange and culture. Team Alaska strengthens Alaska’s communities by providing young athletes with the opportunity to compete in friendly competition while sharing cultural values from northern regions around the world. More than 20 sporting events, traditional dance and music, make Arctic Winter Games a very important cultural event for young Alaskans.
The largest of the American states was once a part of imperial Russia. Purchased from the Czar in 1867 for $7.2 million, Alaska remained a territory until statehood was granted in 1959. Gold rushes were abundant in Fairbanks, Nome, Iditarod, Hope and Juneau. Copper strikes at Kennecott, and oil rushes on the Kenai Peninsula and along the North Slope have all contributed to Alaska’s diverse economy and population. It was the major geteway to the Klondike gold rush in the Yukon, and is now experiencing a rebirth of this fabled industry in both south eastern and interior regions. Alaska is one of the least populous of the American states, with fewer than 650,000 residents, primarily along the railroad route between Anchorage and Fairbanks. About 30% of the state’s population is aboriginal.
The capital city, Juneau, is located in the southeastern panhandle along the 1,000 mile Inside Passage that shelters shipping from the North Pacific Storm Track. The largest city in the state is Anchorage. Fairbanks, the Golden Heart of the state’s interior, has seen a rapid expansion in gold mining. Alaska’s flag represents the constellation Ursus Major, the Big Dipper or Great Bear, the primary celestial landmark and navigational guide in the northern latitudes. The gold stars of the state’s flag are displayed on a blue background. Alaska’s team colors are blue and gold.
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