Native Toys and Games

  • To see a simplified description of a few native games that you can play quickly without a lot of research, click Here.
  • To see a much more detailed description of many toys and games of the North American Indians, including full documentation, etc. click Here

An Important Story Before You Enter!

I hope that everyone coming to this site will read the following story at least once! It does not involve a game or a toy but it describes exactly why I think we need more native information on this web site, and what it's importance really is.

So many times our Native and "European"cultures have clashed. So terrible have been the results. The following quote was written in the book "North American Indian Games" by William Harry Carter, 1974. Namind Printers. It gives us all a very hard learned lesson on the dangers of racism and the clash of our cultures. And it proves how much better it would be if we worked together.

Quote. In the early part of this century when the indians had not yet ceased to be a nuisance and sometimes a terror to the settlers a hardy backwoodsman and his wife names Spicer had made their home in a lonely part of Ohio. Their clearing and log cabin were a long way distant from the other settlements and it is not to be wondered at if their minds were not altogether at ease towards their savage neighbors.

One night they were about to go to bed when someone was heard calling outside. Spicer went out, and saw a tall Indian on horseback. He carried the carcass of a deer slung before him and was armed with two rifles, a tomahawk, and a scalping knife. On the whole he looked a very undesirable visitor. He spoke to them first in his own language, then by signs and broken English; and the Spicers were not very well pleased when he managed to make himself understood that he wanted to take up his quarters with them for the night.

Hospitality however in these out of the way parts was a pressing virtue; besides a refusal might end in his doing them mischief. So the worthy couple prepared to entertain their guest in the best fashion they could. His horse was accommodated in the pig stye for want of a stable. He was invited into the cabin which consisted of only one room. His weapons were put in the corner, his venison was hung up and Mrs Spicer proceeded to cook for him a piece of it which he cut out for that purpose. In her anxiety to give the visitor no cause of offense she seasoned the meat highly with pepper and salt as it would commend itself to the taste of those for who she had usually to provide. The indian ate a morsel of two but did not seem to enjoy it. Conversation as not practicable under the circumstances and all parties soon agreed to go to rest. The goodman and goodwife went to bed. The indian lay down on the hearth before the fire.

But none of them slept. The Spicers lay uneasily awake keeping a watchful eye on their unwelcome guest with a loaded rifle standing ready beside the bed. Their suspicions seemed to be confirmed when all being quiet the indian roused himself from his feigned slumber, and sat up on the hearth. Cautiously he looked around silently he gained his feet, stealthily he made his way across the floor to the place where his weapons had been deposited. The Spicers held their breath. Once more the midnight murderer glanced keenly on every side to make sure that he was not observed. he drew his shining knife from it's scabbard; he turned and stole on tiptoe. At this moment Spicer was about to seize his rifle and shoot the supposed violator of hospitality. Luckily he held his hand for a moment. Then, instead of approaching the bed on which he fancied his hosts to be fast asleep, the visitor went up to the venison, cut off a goodly lump, placed it on the coals, and as soon as it was cooked to his liking ate up every morsel of it, and went to sleep in real earnest.

The truth was that the poor indian was very hungry, having lost his way in the woods and wandered about for some time before he saw the light in the Spicer's cabin. But he did not relish Mrs Spicer's highly seasoned cooking, and these suspicious movements which had so nearly led to his end were only for the purpose of getting a meal more to his taste, without giving further trouble or offending his hostess by appearing to cast a reflection on her culinary skill. Perhaps there were not many of the rough settlers who would have shown such a spirit of politeness. End of Quote

I so love that story as it has reflections on so many areas. Culture. War and Peace. Simple Manners. But above all it just truly puts every preconceived notion that we have about Native Cultures out to roost and throws them to the dogs! Who really WAS the Barbarian here? No one. And we must all remember that!

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