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General Services


Traditional Indigenous Games


I was first introduced to traditional games 12 years ago when I attended an Educational Support Worker conference. Many of the games I know are results from working with various communities over the last decade, learning from cultural workers and community members from different tribes. 

The list of games I have is by no means comprehensive, and there are many variations out there. All of my activities have teachings from the 4 Directions integrated into the games.

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Game Examples

Make the Stick Jump

This is a game for playing outdoors.  Players develop hand-eye coordination as they throw handmade balls, bean bags, or rocks at the sticks to knock them over (“make them jump”). This is a game that is helpful for learning to hunt birds or small game. Young players will also be practicing their mental addition skills as they keep track of their points.

Tatanka Tatanka

Tatanka is the leader of the buffalo. It is a game that is usually played by women and small children; they would mimic their fathers and grandfathers who used to go on the buffalo hunt. The game helped the women and children learn how to lead the buffalo into the compound during the hunt.

Animal Muk

This “laughing game” was played during social gatherings, especially during the long dark months when blizzards were common. It also gave an opportunity for the hunters to enhance their animal calling skills and become more successful on hunts.

Bone Game

Traditionally, this game was played with carved buffalo rib bones and was important in helping Blackfoot children learn to add and count.

Double Ball/Nobbies

It was originally played by only women, and as sign of respect as the communities “life givers”. Men were not allowed to watch the game being played.

Hub Hub

The Hub Hub was played during social gatherings. Learning about assets of various woods, like willows or pines. Recognizing patterns and keeping counts. (Math teachers find it valuable to teach probability)

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