Heritage Site / Ethnography Site / Cree / Recreation

Article: Traditional Principles

Long ago, the survival of many Indian people depended on their skills as hunters. The children were taught these skills at an early age either by their fathers or by playing among themselves. Games filled an important role in educating the young by cultivating life skills together with their physical and social development.

The adults also had games, which were played purely for enjoyment. These were generally based on gambling, a favorite pastime for many Indian people.

New games could be received from as gifts from another tribe or a tribe could invite someone to teach them a new game. Children often played the same games that their fathers once played or they might receive them in a fashion similar to that of the adults. The games were usually modified in some form by each tribe that received them. One game could be played by many tribes, each using their own variations. Despite these slight differences, one tribe would often challenge another tribe in some of their games. This usually happened at the "KO WE TA SQEEK", a time when certain tribes would meet together in times of peace. Sports often dominated these gatherings. The best runners or players from both tribes would compete against each other, while the spectators placed wagers on their favorites.

Instructions and equipment used to play the games are described in a modified method in this book. Equipment has been adapted to fit material easily accessible today. Attempts have been made to give the standard method of playing, listing a few of the variations. Technical details such as rules, equipment and field size are left for the reader to decide, although suggestions are included.