Heritage Site / Ethnography Site / Cree / Recreation

Article: Men's Games

Gambling games have always been a favorite pass-time for many adults. These games functioned solely as enjoyment of the people, and were often played for hours on end. The gambling games most often took the form of a dice or guessing game.

Dice games depended on pure chance. The guessing games were probably the popular of the two, as they required certain skills. A good player was one who could confuse and successfully hide an object from his opponent.

Many of the games were known throughout the area. A good player often turned professional, making his living by traveling to the different bands and tribes, seeking new challengers. These professional players earned little status among the camp members. Young men, if they became too fond of the games, were discouraged by the elders.

Anything of value was used as stakes, but the wagers were always to be of equal value. One man acted as the "cashier", always ensuring that the wagers were equal and that the stakes were collected and distributed at the end of the game.

During our contemporary Indian celebrations, men begin to gather in the morning, and a game is soon underway. The stakes are usually money now, but songs and methods have changed little through the years.