Unique Manitoba tradition becomes on-ice, online challenge

A new challenge is making the rounds on social media celebrating an age-old Red River pastime, an online game of ‘tag — you’re it’.

It’s called the IceRoad Challenge, and it’s a marriage of tradition and technology that might just put a smile on your face and a little spring in your step.

It’s a bit like the Ice Bucket challenge, only instead of dumping a bucket of ice, the person being challenged is called upon to do a little dance on ice, specifically, a frozen Manitoba river.


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Among the places you can follow the challenge is the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak Inc. Facebook page, or the Bunibonibee Cree Nation (Oxford House, MB) page.

Grand Chief Garrison Settee posted a video of himself doing the Red River Jig on the frozen waterway at The Forks. In doing so, he issued a challenge to other Indigenous leaders to take up the task.

“I want to challenge Grand Chief Daniels from SCO, and Grand Chief Dumas to follow suit,” Settee said in the video.

Grand Chief Garrison Settee, challenged by Chief Eric Redhead, does his #IceRoadChallenge in Winnipeg on the Red River. He now challenges SCO Grand Chief Jerry Daniels and AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas to do the Ice Road Challenge!

And there is more — videos of others completing the challenge and issuing it forward to still others. Settee himself was responding to an invitation from Bunibonibee Cree Nation Chief Tim Muskego.


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Muskego posted a video of himself jigging on the Knee Lake Ice Road for the #IceRoadChallenge, asking all MKO Chiefs to join in the jig.

“Here you go, here is me doing the Ice Road Challenge, along with Councillor Tessa Weenusk and Councillor Luke Muskego, at Knee Lake Ice Road, I challenge my fellow MKO Chiefs, Ekosi! #iceroadchallenge,” Muskego wrote.

Shamattawa First Nation Chief Eric Redhead and Council upped the ante by sharing the stage, um, ice, with band staff, all jigging in answer to the #IceRoadChallenge.


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Hang up your skates: Red River Mutual Trail closed for the season

There is a bit of a catch though. The IceRoad Challenge is done on river ice. With warmer weather and end of winter in the air, opportunities to complete the challenge are melting away, literally.

Winnipeg’s most notable river ice — the Red River Mutual Trail at The Forks — broke records this year for the longest trail, open for the longest duration, but that all came to an end Tuesday, when the trail officially closed for the season.

In case you are wondering, the first day of spring is March 20, 2019.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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