Games to Develop Special Skills




Photo Property of St Francis Mission
Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum
Notice Native Kids Playing a Non Native Ring Game
Copyright to Above. Absolutely No reproductions without permission
Reproduced here with Thanks to Above
Click for St Francis Mission




Photo courtesy of... St. Francis Mission, Buechel Memorial Lakota Museum (located in the state of South Dakota, on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation.) email address for the museum... museum@gwtc.net
Address: 350 S. Oak Street, P.O. Box 499, St. Francis, SD 57572 , at website: www.sfmission.org ...

Many of the following games seem more like an education for the child than a game.

Imitation of Animals, Reptiles, and Fish

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
It mentions "The children also liked to imitate the motions of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish; the calls and cries of birds and animals too became a part of their mimicry. The spirit of competition was as keen among these young Indians as it is among modern children so each one tried to be a better imitator than his companions. This trait developed into competitive imitative games. ... So perfect is the mimicry that it is quite easy for one versed in the ways of the wild to distinguish immediately just which bird, beast, or reptile is being created."

Danger Signal

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains, Woodland, and Northwest Coast
More an educational tool than a game this simply involved taking young men into the bush and having them listen for danger signals. When older men blew whistles to imitate danger signals etc., they were to melt into cover as soon as at all possible. They would listen to noises by birds, animals, turtles, or even men to tell if they were in danger or if something was near to hunt, etc.

Pebble Pattern

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains, Woodland, and Northwest Coast
More an educational tool than a game, this simply involved having an older man collect pebbles and arrange them into a pattern while the young boys were not looking. With pattern arranged the boys could look for one or two minutes. Then, the man would gather the pebbles, and the young folk would be asked to put them back into the same pattern, or to draw out the pattern to test their skills of recollection.

Guard the Chief

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Woodland, and Northwest Coast
One "Chief" wearing a coloured band goes into the woods with 5 or 6 guards. They have a ten minute start to find the best place to hide and best cover, etc. In ten minutes the rest of the young braves go into the woods to find the chief. They can capture him by pulling off his arm band. His guards can do anything they can to throw others off track and indeed they can also be captured by having their arm bands taken. If the "Chief" is not captured in 45 minutes, they win.

Stalking

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains, Southwest, Woodland, and Northwest Coast
Space here does not allow complete description of this game. However, the Chief stands with eyes closed and waits for around 40 seconds while young boys go off in all directions. When the Chief blows his whistle the boys stop concealed as best they can on the ground. If the Chief can see a young lad he is called in and game is over for him. The Chief closes his eyes for around 20 seconds and boys try to sneak closer. If he can see anyone he calls out and the game is over for them. This continues for about four or five times. At the end, the boy closest to the chief is the winner.

Rattler

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains, Southwest, Woodland, and Northwest Coast
Two boys are blindfolded and are in the middle of a circle 40 feet in diameter. The others sit around the outside watching. One blindfolded boy has a small covered tin or wooden box with a pebble inside it. That is the rattle. The other boy is the hunter. The rattler moves his box and thus the rattle and the other tries to catch him. If the "chief" calls "Stop" both boys must stop and the chief moves them back to the middle of the ring. This often happens when they get too close to the edge. More detailed description available in the book.

Tender of the Fire

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains, Woodland, and Northwest Coast
One player is blindfolded with three sticks in front of him about a foot long each. He kneels behind them ready to protect them. On command, one at a time, others try any way possible to steal the sticks of firewood to use for their "fire" except through the use of a stick or pole. If one boy is able to take a stick it is give to the game "chief". At the end the person with the most sticks wins. The protector of the sticks cannot keep passing his hands over the "Firewood". He must only put his hands out when he thinks that the firewood is in danger of being taken.

Moose Stalk

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains, Woodland, Southwest and Northwest Coast
One contestant is blindfolded with his ears NOT covered. He stands about 7 feet away from the other contestant. The person NOT blindfolded is the moose and the one blindfolded is the stalker. The moose tries to throw off the stalker. He does every move he can think of to get rid of the stalker including noiseless movements, zigzagging, sudden stops, a quick silent step to one side and then a sudden stop, etc. If the moose throws off the stalker then he wins.

There

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains, Woodland, Southwest and Northwest Coast
One person is in the middle of a circle 50 feet in diameter and is blindfolded. Another tries to sneak up on him. He tries to get close enough to touch the blindfolded. If he succeeds he is a winner. If chief hears him he points directly to where the sound came from (And thus where he thinks the "Sneaker" is). If he points to the person, that person must kneel and has lost and is out of the game. Then another tries to sneak up on the person in center.

Bird Notes

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Woodland, Northwest Coast\\ A leader would go into the bush making calls at designated times. (One minute, etc.) The group of young people would follow him into the bush in five minutes, and try to find him. If a group member saw him they would kneel down and look the other way etc to confuse the others. The person who got closest to the leader in a designated time would be the winner.

Bird Notes

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains
This game can only be played in summer and fall when thistledown seems are ready to take off in the wind. One person takes the white "down" from a thistle and holds it between her thumb and fore finger. She raises her hand high in the air and lets the down go in the wind. Each player follows the "Down" as it is carried along on the breeze. As players lose site of it they take a step backward. The last person to step back is of course the winner. The other game is to let it go in the breeze and then race along to keep up with it.

Breath Hold Pebble Contest

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Northwest Coast
A few pebbles are placed on two lines three feet apart. Player sits between the lines. On start of game player takes a deep breath and holds it and begins to continually say "Tillikum". This is because if you are saying that word you cannot take a breath. Player begins at the same moment to move pebbles one at a time from one line to the other using only one hand. If he can move all he can begin again. Player who moves the most pebbles is the winner.

Breath Hold Dua Contest

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains
Played with a long notched stick or pole 6 to 12 feet. Player holds their breath and touches the notches one at a time. Each time a notch is touched they must say "Dua". Person who says Dua the most number of times is the winner.

Star Groups

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains and Woodland
Players are taken out to map the star groups. When they find them they draw them out in the sand to show their orientation etc. by using a stick or marbles/pebbles. First person to form a mentioned star group or person to draw the best representation wins.

Dark Walk

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains, Northwest Coast and Woodland
One person is the target. The participant is placed 30 or 40 paces away and is blindfolded in the dark of night. At the given time the participant is to walk directly to the target. They generally end up in the wrong direction totally. Since walkers can make use of a breeze the contest is NEVER run when there is even a slight wind. The walker to end up closest to the target person wins.

Tracks

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains, Northwest Coast and Woodland
Simply involves a leader going out with a group of participants to show them different types of tracks. At the end they can be questioned, etc.

Captive of War

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Northwest Coast
Two teams lined up each on one of two straight lines 60 feet apart. On "Go" players would run forward and try to touch the hand of a player from the other team. There was no penalty or points with this. BUT, if a player from that opposing team touched the hand of the first player after he touched the hand of a member of the other team then they were prisoner for the rest of the game. First team to lose all men were the losers.

Trail of Silence

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Northwest Coast, Woodland, Plains
In a bush area with lots of down branches and leaves and grasses the leader makes a short trail. He sits in the middle of it. They young folk try to walk down the trail in total silence without breaking a twig or rustling leaves etc. Each sound heard is recorded by the leader. In the end the young contestant going through and making the least sounds is the winner.

Pebble Pictures

In Book of American Indian Games by Allan and Paulette Macfarlan
Reference, Plains
This simply involves kids making pictures in the sand with small pebbles. Might be the outline of a tipi, bird, etc. The author mentions the use of 18 pebbles, but I would highly suspect that number might change from tribe to tribe and person to person, etc.


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