Toys and Games of the North American Native


We would love to find further references for this area. If you know of any please let us know!



Detail of Cheyanne Winter Games, watercolor by W Richard West
From "Games of the North American Indian"
By Stewart Culin




Historical photos and artwork on this web site are reproduced for educational purposes only, and should not be reproduced without the permission of Faire Tyme Toys, and/or their original owner.

In "Traditional Games of the Lakotas by Raymond A Bucko SJ", Games came under threat in the 1800's when native people's customs and religions were actively suppressed by outside institutions-the government and the church-seeking more control over native life. By the early twentieth century, games introduced by whites were replacing Lakota games. But like many other elements of (Reference,) Lakota culture, traditional games persisted as the Lakota creatively adapted what was around them to suit their own purposes. The games were sometimes even staged to satisfy the curiosity of anthropologists and visitors in a context radically different from the original intent of teaching values and skills

References and Documentation for our Native Area

References and Documenation


*****You will find suggestions on how to play similar game versions with modern kids in text coloured like this with green stars to mark it.


Toys of Native Children

In Grass Games and Moon Races By Jeanine Gendar she quotes the following from Publo Tac (Luiseno), ca. 1835. All people were watching the game and the captain of that district too was watching on horseback. All thirty Luisenos played well and were speedily defeating the Sanjuanenos, when one Sanjuaneno takes the ball and carries it in his hand. Then a Luiseno comes up, and seizing him by the waist throws him up and makes him fall. Another Sanjuaneno came to defend his countryman. Other Luisenos go to help the first. After these came the captain, and he beat a Luiseno. Then one of the Luisenos, stronger and with a huge body gave a leap, knocked him down. The horse stepped on him and dragged him beneath his feet. He was not able to get up. Attracted by the uproar, the people came up with sticks in hand...

Games Seeming to Be of Native Origin

Games Possibly Having Common Native/European Origin

In Gambler way. Indian gaming in mythology, history, and archaeology in North America by Kathryn Gabriel. An imortant and overlooked aspect of traditional indian gaming is that gamboling has nearly always been a sacred activity, inextricably bound together with myth, legend, and ritual. Since the 16 and 17 centuries white observers of Indian culture have casually noted the connection between gambling and religion but it was not until the end of the nineteenth century that the academic community realized the supreme importance of that connection in the understanding of native gaming.

In Indian Games and Dances with Native Songs Alice C Fletcher writes about counting sticks. "These are sometimes spoken of as arrows, and there are indications that they were once arrows - the arrows of the Twin Gods" They are often pointed so they can be stuck in the ground in front of the player

Gamboling Type Games

Native Stories Involving Games and Toys












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