Manataka American Indian Council


 

NATIVE GAMES

Cup and Pin Game Sosemanuk (Snow Snake)
Hoop and Pole Game Striking the Bow
Is Pe Mek (Up There) Tahhtihnakico - Shooting Arrows
Lacrosse Tossing the Ball
Playing with a Ball (Shinny) To We Picikan (Slingshots)
Sliding Game - (marbles) Wapetuuskawen - Mud Sticks

Cheyenne Basket Game

We Pitisowewepahikan - Double Ball

Choctaw Chungke'

Games of the Plains Cree

PLAYING WITH A BALL (SHINNY)

This game was a very rough sport, just as the game of shinny is today. Long ago, both men and women played, but never together.

EQUIPMENT

A stick about three feet long which is curved at one end. The curved end should be broader than the handle. Some bands use sticks that have no curve. A hockey stick may be used

The ball was once made from two circles of hide, stuffed with hair and stitched together all the way around. However, any small, soft ball can be used

HOW TO PLAY

The game can be played on any football or soccer field. Traditionally, the game was played on ice. Players divide into two teams.

The ball is tossed or kicked into centre field to start the game.

The ball is to be played on the sticks-no part of the body can touch the ball.

Long ago, the game was played without involving any rest periods, so the first team to make a goal won the game.


TOSSING THE BALL

This could be classed as the traditional Cree volleyball game. It was one of the few games that men and women played together.

EQUIPMENT

A large ball at least five inches in diameter.

HOW TO PLAY

Two or more people can play. Players volley the ball back and forth to each other, or around a circle of players.

When a player misses the ball he is out; someone else can replace him in the game.

The winner is the person who has not missed the ball when everyone else is out.


WE PITISOWEWEPAHIKAN 

(DOUBLE BALL)

This game was played primarily by the women, at least among the Cree. It was a very vigorous game, demanding top physical condition. The goals were placed up to a mile apart.

EQUIPMENT

A stick, about three feet long

Long ago, the double-ball was made from two bags of deerskin stuffed with buffalo hair and joined by a leather thong. A dumb bell shaped bean bag or any two small balls which can be fastened together can be used

HOW TO PLAY

The game can be played on a football or soccer field or on any area where the goals are at least 100 yards apart. There can be from four to eight players on a team.

The game is similar to shinny, except the ball is moved only by throwing it with the curved stick. It cannot be touched with the hands or feet.

The game begins with one player throwing the ball toward centre field.

The ball, once caught by a player, cannot be carried on the stick. It must be passed from one player to another.

Players can try to hook the ball by knocking it off their opponents stick.

The team which throws the ball across the goal line wins the game.


LACROSSE

The game of Lacrosse was once played by many North American tribes. The game is generally associated with Eastern Canadian tribes, including the Mohawk Huron and Iroquois. However, the tribal origin of the game is unknown. The name "Lacrosse" was given by the French, who played a similar game. Good teamwork was essential, and players had to be extremely fast and agile.

Today, Lacrosse is most popular in the United States and throughout Europe.

EQUIPMENT

Lacrosse racquets or a piece of hardwood approximately 3 feet in length and about four inches in diameter. One end of the stick must be flatter and thinner than the rest. The thin end is curved into a U-ring, at least four inches in diameter. Eight to ten holes are drilled around the ring. Leather thongs are woven through the holes so that they cross in the centre. The lacing should be slack enough to form a netted pocket about two inches deep

A soft ball small enough to be carried in the pocket of the sticks

A soccer or football field may be used. Traditionally the game was played on a very large field up to a mile long. Today the game of Lacrosse is often played on a floor hockey field

Two posts on either side of the field may be used as goals. Hockey goalposts serve the purpose well

HOW TO PLAY

The game is played by any number of players divided into two teams.

Each team includes a goalie, guards and forwards.

The game begins when the ball is tossed high into the air at centre field. The ball can also be placed between the sticks of the two team captains.

The players pass the ball to each other using their sticks and try to throw the ball between the goal posts.

The players must not touch the ball with their hands or feet. It can only be passed between players.

The first team to reach the agreed game score wins the game.


TAHHTIHNAKICOCHAKOS - 

SHOOTING ARROWS

Many years ago, during the summer months, young men would gather together to test their skill in archery. The object of this game was to lean an arrow next to a target arrow.

HOW TO PLAY

The game is played between two teams consisting of two players each.

One player shoots a target arrow about 20 - 30 feet away.

Each player has four attempts to lean his arrow against the target.

If one player is successful in his attempt, he receives all the arrows which have been shot. However, if no player has made a direct hit, the player whose arrow comes the closest to the target receives one point. Four points are needed to win the game. Either player on a team can make the four points. The points are individually scored. The winner and his partner collect the arrows which have been shot, as well as any wagers which might have been placed.

VARIATIONS

The game can also be played without the use of teams. Each player competes against the others.

Shooting Women's Arrows: The Cree women play this game using their digging sticks. The target is two digging sticks placed close together. The women are to throw their sticks so they fall between the two target sticks.

The Awl Game: This game was also played by the Cree women. The object of the game was to throw an awl so that it stood upright inside a small metal or bone ring.


CUP AND PIN GAME

David Mandelbaum described this game in his book, "The Plains Cree". The game was usually played by the women.

EQUIPMENT

Eight or nine bones in conical form (thimbles or half walnut shells may also be used)

A knitting needle or a wooden or bone pin, approximately nine inches long

An oblong piece of hide or strong cloth material. This piece should be about 4 - 6 inches square, bearing 6 holes as illustrated

A leather thong approximately 24 inches long

HOW TO PLAY

Hold the pin straight up, between thumb and forefinger of the right hand. Extend the right arm. Take the flap in the left hand and draw it back toward the body so the string is horizontal.

Toss the bones outward and upward.

Try to catch the bones and the flap on the pin.

The details of the scoring vary greatly from place to place. Here are the principles on which it is usually based: all the cups count the same number of points, except for the one nearest the flap, which if caught by itself, is worth either extra points or automatically wins the game.

caribou toes movie buttonLamarr Swindler at Wanuskewin Heritage Park demonstrates cup and pin (or cariboo toes).

 

 


SOSEMANUK (SNOW SNAKE)

This is a popular winter sport played by many of the eastern Canadian tribes. The Cree from the Piapot area remember chanting certain songs before they threw the stick.

EQUIPMENT

A stick made from hardwood, about two or four feet in length. The front end is wider and thicker than the handle and is curved upward or has a small ball on the end. The stick should be well polished, so it will be able to glide easily.

HOW TO PLAY

The game is played near a well-iced snow bank.

The object of the game is to bounce the stick off the bank and slide the "snake" further than your opponents.

The head of the stick is held between the thumb and forefinger and swung like a pendulum. It is then released underhand with a sweeping motion.

VARIATIONS

Bouncing Stick Game (Kwakweco-cime win): The throwing stick is constructed from a long piece of thin wood. A buffalo horn which has been scraped thin is fitted on the end. The horn is secured on the stick with frozen fat. The stick is thrown in a fashion similar to that of a javelin and sent sliding over a length of smooth snow.

Gliding sticks: The throwing stick can also be used on a prepared course such as a zig-zag path down a hill or an iced barrier course. Hardwood sticks about two feet long are used in this game. They are whittled flat on one side and bear a design on the larger side. When a hillside is used, the snake is launched rather than thrown from the top of the track.

Donny Speidel, Dominic Morgan and Shaun Lessard play a game of Snowsnake at Wanuskewin Heritage Park.

 

 


CREDITS:

Saskatchewan Indian Cultural Centre
120 33rd St. East, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, S7K 3S9
(306) 244-1146

http://collections.ic.gc.ca/games/index.html

 


 

Cup and Pin Game Sosemanuk (Snow Snake)
Hoop and Pole Game Striking the Bow
Is Pe Mek (Up There) Tahhtihnakico - Shooting Arrows
Lacrosse Tossing the Ball
Playing with a Ball (Shinny) To We Picikan (Slingshots)
Sliding Game - (marbles) Wapetuuskawen - Mud Sticks

Cheyenne Basket Game

We Pitisowewepahikan - Double Ball

Choctaw Chungke'

Games of the Plains Cree

 

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