Indian Games For Cub Scouts Edited by Daniel R. Mott
Autentici giochi usati dagli Indiani
d'America per insegnare la vita all'aria
aperta e la caccia. Adattati all'uso in
Questi giochi si prestano al doppio scopo
dell'educazione alla diversita` e dello
sviluppo delle proprie capacita` nelle
tecniche di scouting.-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
The following games are authentic
Indian games that have been adapted for use with cub scout packs. These games
were used by the Indians to teach the Indian braves how to live and hunt in the
area that they lived. In other words these games were their instructions and the
outdoors was their school house. Each of the games are listed with the title,
the tribe(s) of indians that would play the game, whether it is a game that
requires team or individual effort
and whether it is an individual, den, or pack effort.
!!! Warning !!!
IT IS CRUCIAL WHEN PLAYING ANY OF
THIS GAMES THAT THE LEADER REMAINS COMPLETELY AWARE OF ANY POSSIBLE
DANGERS OR LIABILITIES
INVOLVED. THE CUB SCOUTS HEALTH AND SAFETY ARE PARAMOUNT.
!!! Warning !!!
Patterns Indians: Northwest Coast, Plains, Woodland
1) This is a
game of observation and patience. The den leader
gathers about thirty pebbles of various sizes.
These pebbles should be of as many
different colors and shapes as possible, though to the untrained observer many
will appear to
Method 1: Use real pebbles of
different markings and both
similar or different colors.
Method 2: Use pebbles cut out poster or stiff cardboard
ranging from one half to one inch wide to three quarters to two
2) The leader has the cubs sit
with their backs to him while he arranges, on the ground or on a table, the
number and pattern which
he feels is best suited for the group.
3) The leader lays out a pattern,
even or broken according to one
or several charts he has made up in advance.
The charts of course show the exact position of the
and patterned pebbles.
4) He now asks the cubs to turn around and look at the
one or two minutes.
Method 1: The den leader
then gathers up the pebbles into a heap and the den either as individuals or as
a den tries to arrange
the pebbles in their original order.
Method 2: Cover the design with a cloth and have the
players mark on a piece of paper the approximate sizes, positions, colors,
and markings of the pebbles.
This game can be played several times going from more simple patterns to more
complex ones. To help develop keener observation in the cubs, the players who do
the best at remembering the pebble arrangements can be asked to arrange the
pebbles themselves from
time to time.
Guard the Chief Indians: Woodland,
1) This game is best played in heavily wooded or forested
area (for cubs, especially the younger ones, restrictions need to be strictly
enforced, the area to be played in should be no larger then the ability to be
able to visibly see the boys ( line of sight). The purpose of this game was to
provide good training in woodcraft as well as to have fun. The leaders should be
armed with shrill
whistles to call in the stragglers when necessary.
2) The chief in charge of
operations (cubmaster) chooses the chief (den chief) to be guarded. The chief
and his guards wear some kind of easily noticeable identification such as an
armband on the left arm. The chief wears two strips of cloth hanging over his
back like tag football.
3) The chief and his guards are given a two minute had
start. The chief in charge explains to them that the two minute grace period is
not a wild dash in the woods. Much of the time should be spent in making a quick
survey of the land to see where cover is the thickest and to find the area where
the band will have the best chance to escape speedy detection and move from
under cover from
cover to cover.
4) When two minutes has elapsed the chief in charge blows
his whistle signaling that the pursers are on their way. The job of the pursuers
is to locate the band which guards the chief and take him
prisoner by snatching his strip of cloth.
guards remain close enough to their chief in order to guard him and to throw the
pursuers off the track whenever possible and in every way, defending him best by
hindering the movements of the
6) The game can be held for thirty or forty minutes and if
chief can evade capture, they can count coup and win.
7) It is best if the area to be
played in is defined to keep the
game more interesting and to keep the cubs from scattering to far.
A city or county park, schoolyard, a
large backyard, etc. are possible sites for this game depending on how difficult
you wish to make it. An possible alternative in this game could be to have the
chief and his guards start from a specified point and try to make
it to another given point before being captured.
Stalking Indians: Plains,Southwest,Northwest Coast,
Individual Outdoors1) The leader carries a shrill, far-sounding
whistle to recall the modern Indian "strays". It is also a good idea to define
the area that the game will be played in. For cubs, the best rule to follow is
the line of sight rule(when they stand up you can see them) if this is to be
played outside. Also schoolyards, churchyards, large backyards are good places
to play this game. This game can be played inside in a gym or large room if
obstacles are placed in the room i.e. large boxes, chairs tables that have been
covered with cardboard or paper. This obstacles could be painted to
boulders, caves, trees, or bushes.
2) He stands in a little clearing (or specified point) with
the players grouped around him. He closes his eyes and counts slowly to forty,
while the stalkers move of quietly in different directions to take up undercover
positions in the area around the chief,
approximately 10 paces away.
3) When the cubs hear the first
whistle signal they freeze, immediately, knowing the chief is trying to spot
their positions >from where he is standing. The cubs know the leader won't
then ten feet in any direction from the starting point.
4) The chief looks keenly about
and any stalker he can spot is called out and has to return to the clearing
where the chief is standing, sits quietly down, and is out of the contest.
Should the chief see part of the scout but not enough to identify him by name,
the leader calls out a description of the clothing seen, the direction, and a
prominent thing next to him, such as a log, tree, or boulder. It is a rule that
no other scout can continue to
advance while the description is being called out.
5) After having identified
any visible stalkers the chief blows two short blasts on his whistle, closes his
eyes and counts to fifteen. He opens his eyes and tries to identify any more
stalkers. The warning signal doesn't need to be given to more advanced stalkers.
This is repeated again but only counts to ten after which he blows on his
whistle three shorts blasts as a stop signal. From this point on the chief will
not blow on his whistle again but will
continue to call in any incautious stalkers.
6) After a
predetermined time the stalkers will hear one long blast on the whistle, they
will instantly stop their advance and stand up in the exact position where they
were when they heard the whistle blast. The stalker who has reached the closest
point to the chief
without being detected counts coup and wins.
Indians: Plains, Woodland, Northwest Coast, Southwest
1) The players stand outside of a
circle forty feet in diameter
marked on smooth flat ground.
2) Two players stand in the middle
of the circle. The chief blindfolds one of them, leaving his ears uncovered. He
is the Hunter. The second player is also blindfolded and given a small tin box
with a very small pebble in it. It is important for the box to
have a tightly fitting lid.
3) The second
player, who plays the role of the Rattlesnake, is told to rattle the box two or
three times, counting quietly up to ten, slowly, between each series of rattles.
The hunter tries to catch the rattler, and the snake needs to be warned to move
silently, but not too fast, in order to make it as difficult as possible for the
hunter to locate where the sound comes from, before it sounds in another
direction. Most importantly, both contestants must stop instantly when the chief
shouts "Stop!" This precaution is necessary to keep the players from colliding
circle of spectators.
4) The leader starts the contest by placing the two players
ten to twelve feet apart and then saying "Begin!" Action begins immediately with
the rattler shaking his box and the hunter trying
to find him.
5) When the game is stopped by any
reason by the chief, he must place the two players back near the center of the
circle and the
correct distance apart before the hunt recommences.
6) To make the game more difficult
for experienced players, the rattler may be given a small paper, plastic or
wooden box with a
pebble or dried pea instead of a more audible metal can.
7) The chief directing the game is
allowed to give the players
pointers to make their play more effective.
the Fire Indians: Plains, Woodland, Northwest Coast
Individual-Den Outdoors or Indoors
1) The Fire Tender
kneels or squats directly in front of the three sticks, each about twelve inches
long and one inch thick. Cardboard or heavy paper rolled into a tube could also
represent the sticks. The ends of the sticks are one foot away from the
2) The Wood Gatherers, stand just
outside a circle 30 feet in
diameter marked on the ground.
3) The Fire Tender is blindfolded and sits with his hands
on his knees in the center of the circle waiting for the moment to strike
at those who wish to rob him of his sticks.
4) The Chief in charge of the game calls out "Wood
Gatherers we need wood" to start the game and at the same time points to one of
the cubs. This is the signal for the scout to advance silently and stealthily
toward the Fire Tender to attempt to retrieve any one of
the guarded sticks.
5) It is the
Fire Tenders responsibility to anticipate the Wood Gatherers attempting to steal
the stick. This may be done by
touching his arm, leg, hand etc.
6) The scout that is that Wood
Gatherer cannot rush and grab the stick but must approach slowly and carefully.
This is a game of stealth. The scout can try and distract the Fire Tenders
attention, by any way that he can think of, before grabbing the stick but may
only take one stick at a time.
7) The tender of the fire cannot let his hands hover over
8) The winner is
the one who can grab the greatest number of sticks
without being caught wins.
Moose Stalk Indians: Plains, Woodland, Northwest Coast, Southwest
Individual Outdoors or Indoors
Young Indians played this game to develop silent movement and keen
1) Two cubs from different dens wearing sneakers,
moccasins, or with bare feet, stand side by side. The leader blindfolds one of
them, leaving ears exposed. The one not blindfolded is placed about
seven feet in front of the other.
player not blindfolded is the moose. When the leader says "STALK!" the moose
tries to throw the stalker off by noiseless movements, zigzagging, sudden steps,
a quiet silent step to one side and a sudden step to the other or some other
the contest begins, the stalker is warned that he must stop whenever the leader
cries "STOP!". This is to prevent the
stalker from bumping into something or someone.
4) The moose always
counts coup when he is able to throw the stalker off track, usually by getting
out of earshot by using some ruse. The stalker counts coup when he is able to
follow the moose at a distance, preferably, not closer then six feet for a
two or three minutes as decided by the leader.
5) Onlookers should keep perfectly quiet during the contest.
THERE ! Indians: Plains, Woodland, Northwest Coast
Individual Outdoors or Indoors1) A chief (denner) is blindfolded and stands
in the middle of a circle fifty feet in diameter plainly marked on the ground.
stalkers stand just outside the circle.
2) The cubmaster or a den leader should direct and referee
the contest. He/she points to any stalker at any point of the circle, he then
raises his arm to signal the contestant to approach the chief as closely and as
silently as possible without being detected by the chief. The object of each
stalk is to touch the chief lightly with the fingertips of one hand without
being detected in
The contestant cannot rush the blindfolded chief before he can
say anything, but must advance slowly and with care.
4) The blindfolded chief only knows that the stalkers
surround him but he doesn't know the direction that the stalker that is
approaching him is coming from.
5) As soon as the blindfolded chief believes he hears an
approaching stalker, he cries "THERE !" and points in the direction of the
sound. Should he point directly at the stalker (who must stop at the sound of
the cry) the chief refereeing the contestant cries out "RIGHT !" and the stalker
sits down, motionless and
noiseless, at the place where he was heard.
6) This game helps develop the
spirit of fair play, as the most honest player will stop instantly when they
believe they are being pointed to. and will not quibble about being a few inches
mark. The chief who is the referee has the final say.
Keen Eye Indians: Plains Individual - Den Outdoors1) This game can only be played when dandelion, thistledown or
other airborne seeds are available and when there is a strong wind
to blow them.
2) Raise the seeds in the
air (if necessary, blow them) and let the wind blow the seeds. After a start of
about fifty feet (less if the
winds are strong enough), try to outrun the seeds.
Breath Holding Games
Try to see how long a scout can hold his breath while doing other
activities such as arranging sticks or pebbles in patterns. This
can be done individual, in relay, or other competition between
Breath Holding : Pebbles Indian: Northwest Coast Individual
- Indoors Outdoors or Indoors1) A chief (den leader) marks two
lines on the ground about three feet apart. He then places ten roundish pebbles
(or marbles) about
three inches apart on each line.
2) The chief says "READY !" to give the contestants a
chance to take as big a breath as possible. The chief then calls out "GO ! " and
the players immediately begin repeating "Tillikum" over and
over again without inhaling a breath, commencing at the same moment
each pebble, one at a time and only using one hand from one
line to the other.
3) When all the pebbles
have changed places, the players start all over again and only stop when they
are unable to repeat the
4) The player or team who moves the most pebbles while
repeating "Tillikum" is the winner.
Breath Holding : Dua ! Indian: Northwest Coast
Individual - Den Outdoors or Indoors1) Prepare a length of cord by making
overhand knots one-half inch
apart. Stretch the cord between two points.
2) The cub goes from one end of
the rope to the other touching the
rope and repeating the word "Dua !".
3) The cub who counts the greatest number of knots counts coup.
It is best to know the number of knots in the length of rope in
advance and then count the lengths of rope.
To allow two to compete simultaneously, have two identical cords
prepared allowing two cubs to compete simultaneously.
Star Groups Indians: Plains - Woodland
Individual - Den Outdoors or Indoors1) The chief (leader) in charge should either some
knowledge of astronomy or have a number of clear, correct diagrams of the chief
constellations showing the principle stars and constellations as
they are seen in the night sky at different times of the year.
2) Each contestant is given eight large pebbles and eight
small pebbles of varying sizes. Marbles can be used instead of pebbles but they
aren't as effective due to the fact that they are all generally of the same size
and wouldn't represent the magnitude of the star. If pebbles are difficult to
get hold of when playing the game inside, pebbles made out of cardboard or heavy
card stock would work well. The cardboard pebbles could also be colored to
reflect the color of various stars (i.e. red for Alderbaran, silvery blue for
Vega, bluish-white for Sirius, or a silvery hue
for most other stars.)
3) The contestant can be carried
out in one of two ways. First, the chief can ask the contestant to form a
particular constellation such as Ursa Major or Cassiopea. Use a list of
are available in the sky at that time of year. The second method is
to give the cubs five minutes to form a
constellation of their choice. The first scout to correctly finish his
star group counts coup.
4) The judging is based on the correctness in the formation
of the constellation and accuracy in the number of stars shown and the
appropriate comparative magnitude of each star.
5) This game can be made simpler if so desired. The
appropriate magnitude of the star and the less visible stars in the
constellation (i.e. Ursa Major has considerable more stars then the popular well
known version known as the Big Dipper) scan be left out when dealing with
younger boys such as cub cubs. The time limit should be reduced accordingly
based on the difficulty of forming
Dark Walk Indians: Plains, Woodland, Northwest Coast
Individual - Den Outdoors or Indoors 1) The chief sends thirty or forty
paces away from a group of Dark
Walkers who are in charge of another chief.
2) The first to take the Dark Walk
is asked if he can walk to a given point in a straight line, in the dark his
answer is that he
chief of the Dark Walkers blindfolds the Dark Walker. Before the blindfold is
placed, the Dark Walker is allowed to look directly at the distant chief. The
Dark Walker starts walking
toward the distant chief when the distant chief issues the command
4) The object of the game is to reach the chief without
deviating. Often the scout will wind up 20 paces or more from the chief he is
trying to reach. The scout who can reach the chief with the least
deviation from a straight line counts coup.
The chiefs and all other dark walkers need to remain quiet while the one who is
walking completes his journey. The chief who acts as a marker may have a whistle
to warn the Dark Walker from walking
into any dangers such as a wall for indoors.
6) This game can be
also run as a den competition at pack meeting with the den leader or den chief
acting as the marker chief for each den. The cubs could use their own
neckerchiefs for blindfolds. The den who has the greatest number of members of
their den who reach their den leader or den chief with the least deviation
Tracks Indians: Plains, Woodland, Northwest Coast
Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors or Indoors1) Indian boys learned the art of
hunting early and it was important for them to recognize tracks of various
common animals at
Draw the outline of various tracks on paper or posterboard. One by one as the
track is held up the cubs can either call out or write down what the track is. A
prize can be given to the scout who
can name the most tracks.
3) This game can be played in
relay. Each den leader stands at one end of the room with each den lined up at
the other end of the room. On a given signal from the den chief the dens run up
den leader in relay fashion. Each den leader holds up the track of
an animal from a set of cards he is holding. The scout
calls out the name of the animal who made the track and runs back. The track has
to be properly named before the boy can run back and tag the next scout in line.
The first den to correctly name all the animal
signs counts coup and wins.
4) A variation of this game is to
have stencils of the tracks. The den chief holds up a track and calls on a boy
to run up, trace the track on the chalkboard and correctly name the animal. The
boy who can name and draw the most animals wins. Alternately, the den chief can
hold up a track, the cubs can draw it on a piece of paper and
Captive of War Indians: Northwest Coast
Den-Pack Outdoors1) The Salish Youngsters would play this game all day long. The
game is made up of two teams of equal size and stand just behind a straight line
marked on the ground, facing the rival team, 60 feet
away and directly opposite.
2) A chief (den chief
or adult leader) stands halfway between the
two lines of players. When he clapped his hands the game begins.
3) The object of the game is for any player of either side
to touch the hand of any player on the opposing team and dodge back safely to
the safety zone, immediately behind his own line. The person is free to touch
any opponents hand, and nothing happens to the player whose hand is touched, but
he player who touched it must race back to his line twisting and turning in
order not to be caught by
anyone on the opposing team.
4) Any player who is caught is
taken by the player who caught him behind the rival teams line. Once there, he
is a prisoner and can
neither escape, be rescued or be released.
5) The game continues until all
the players on one side have
Buffalo Corral (Buffalo Pound, Buffalo Hunt) Indians: Plains
Den - Pack Outdoors1) The chiefs who direct the game decide on the
boundaries to mark off a area approximately 500 yards square. The terrain should
be a flat, safe area. The size of the area can be increased or decreased to meet
the size, speed, and staying power of the players. Anyone running out of bounds
is ruled out of
buffalo pound, which is an Indian type of corral, is plainly marked on the
ground in the middle of the hunt terrain. The corral is about 20 feet square
with an opening from 6 to 8 feet wide directly in the middle of one side. The
size of the entrance to the corral can be increased when necessary to allow the
more inexperienced hunters a greater chance of success. The corral entrance is
marked by two posts (or other large markers - rocks,
cans, etc.) driven in the ground.
3) The cub playing the
part of the buffalo needs to be a fast runner and a tricky dodger in order to
evade the hunters who are trying to herd him into the corral. The hunters are
just outside one of the sides of the boundary.
4) When the cub playing the
buffalo enters the hunt area, the chief raises his arm and the chase is on! The
difficult work of the hunters is to round up the buffalo and drive him through
the opening, into the corral without touching the buffalo or being
touched by him.
5) If the cub playing the
buffalo is forced by speed and circumstances to run into a hunter he loses 2
tally points. The
hunter that the buffalo ran into would be out of the game.
6) The hunters, by rules of the
chase can only drive the buffalo forward in the direction of the corral provided
there is a hunter within 10 feet on each side of the bison and one directly
a distance of 6 to 7 feet. Even with only three the buffalo is at
a great disadvantage and the best route of escape is a
sudden burst of speed combined with well-timed dodging to carry him at least 20
feet in front of the hunters. Once ahead of the hunters he could
change his course to enable temporary escape from the hunters.
7) The top score for the buffalo would be 20 points if no
collisions occur and who cannot be corralled for a pre-specified period of time.
The hunters of course count coup if they are able
to corral the buffalo.
Wolf Chase Indians: Plains Den - Pack OutdoorsThe
Indians played this game to increase their speed, endurance, and enhance their
skill in dodging. The rules of the game are based on the principles that a wolf
pack uses to run down a deer or a rabbit with the least possible effort and
still have a front seat
for all the action.
1) One boy who is chosen as the "deer" or "rabbit" is
generally an older cub with skill in running, dodging, and most importantly
endurance. The other four or more cubs spread out into a circle, ranging from 10
to 15 yards in diameter with the same distance
2) The deer or rabbit chooses to
start running from a specific point within the circle opposite one of the
players forming the circle who are the wolves. The rabbit runs in a clockwise
direction around the circle, always keeping at a distance of about two feet from
the edge of the circle. Immediately after the rabbit starts to run, the wolf
nearest him takes up the chase and follows close behind him, trying to touch the
quarry on the left shoulder when he
gets within reach.
3) When the pursuing wolf feels
tired, he simply waits until he is next to one of the other wolves in the
circle, gives a short howl and takes the place of the wolf nearest him. In this
way, the tired
wolf rests, and the other wolf takes up the chase.
4) The rabbit or deer tries to
dodge close to the edge of the circle so that the wolf can't stop before exiting
the circle. Once a pursuing wolf leaves the circle, he is out of the game which
an advantage to the rabbit or deer.
5) This is a hard game for the pursued since the game goes
on until the rabbit or deer is captured or the pursued is able to disqualify all
the wolves. Time limits can be placed on the game where if the rabbit is able to
evade the wolves for a specific length of time he counts coup and is declared a
winner. Another player is chosen to
be the rabbit and the game continues.
Harpoon Chief Indians: Northwest Coast Den-Pack Outdoors
A favorite game of some of the Northwest Indian tribes.
Originally this game was played with wooden harpoons and a
wooden stake. The harpoons which were about fourteen feet long were thrown at a
wooden stake pounded into the ground. The person making the most strikes on the
wooden peg was the one who counted coup or won. Varsity teams may want to go the
expense of making the harpoon which is eight feet long, made out of birch or
cherry sapling, and measuring from 1 to 1 1/2 inches at the butt end and
tapering to 1/2 or 3/4 inch at the thin end. The harpoon may be painted, oiled,
or otherwise decorated but must not have feathers or other decorations that
would interfere with its straight path. The stake should be driven 10 or 11
inches in the ground. No one should be standing in the target area and of course
adult supervision would
1) For cubs it would be better to improvise a game. One
such improvisation is to have the two dens to have a contest where paper
airplanes are thrown at a circular target area.
2) The cubs stand 10 feet away from a target area 18 inches
in diameter and attempt to land the plane they have built in the target area.
The den who lands the most airplanes within the target area without sliding out
wins. The construction of the airplane is
completely up to the dens' ingenuity.
3) In case of a tie
or to add to the game, the dens can try to land their airplanes in the target
area from increasing distances from the target until one den doesn't make it
within the target area
without sliding out.
Hopping, Jumping Races Indians: Plains, Woodland, Northwest Coast
Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors-IndoorsThe following games can
be played either as races or relays. For outdoors the distance for the race or
relay should be about 60 feet; indoors the distance can be adjusted according to
When indoors to make the game more
combinations of hopes, jumps, and pauses can be used.
Hop, Jump!1) The players the one hop and then one
jump for as far a distance as they can. The hop can be made with either the left
or the right foot. Whether the jump is to be made with both feet together or one
foot forward can be decided beforehand by the leader. All players have to
perform the same actions. The timing for this race is hop,
jump; hop, jump; hop, jump.
2) A player who stumbles,
falls, or doesn't do the right sequence of actions has to hop backwards three
times before continuing
Hop Between1) This is a different version of the
Hop, Jump! race/relay above. The same rules apply in this race as for the one
above. In this race a jump has to be made before each hop. The timing for this
race is jump, hoop, jump; jump, hop, jump.
2) When this activity is done as a race, players who get
mixed up in their steps or lose their balance are dropped from the race. The
last surviving player is the one who counts coup and wins.
Jump RaceThis is based on Indian youngsters
jumping game where they would
jump forwards, sideways, or backwards.
1) The racers line up 4 feet apart
just behind a line drawn on the ground and facing another line 60 feet distance.
The cubs are told that they must jump, with their feet held close together, in
the following order: first, jump to the left; second, jump to the right; third,
jump forward as far as possible. After three jumps in this manner, which must be
done in the correct sequence, the order changes in the next group of jumps and
it is to the right, left, and forward. The next series of jumps follows the
first and so on
until the finish line is reached.
2) A jumper who jumps in the wrong pattern must turn around
and take three longs jumps toward the starting line before continuing
3) The patterns can be made still
more difficult by asking the jumpers to do each pattern twice, or three times in
succession. It is harder for the cubs to change after doing one pattern two or
4) This race can
also be carried out as a relay race, with two or three jumpers, on the same
team, starting out from the finish line, when touched off, in addition to the
two or three at the starting
Crooked PathFollow My Leader, known as Crooked
Path to some Plains tribes, was played by many Indian tribes throughout the
United States and Canada by groups of boys, girls, and mixed groups of boys and
1) The player chosen as
the leader sings a simple, rhythmic song, possibly made up on the spot, as he
led the line of players. For instance, a translation of one of the Plains'
tribes Crooked Path songs is: Follow the leader, follow him well, what he'll do
no one can tell.
the leader walks or runs ahead of the other cubs, who followed him in Indian
file, he makes any steps, jumps, pauses, or moves that occurs to him. He could
imitate the movements of animals, birds, or perform complicated dance steps or
movements to make it hard the others to follow him.
3) Any one who fails to follow the
steps correctly must droop out of line. Another leader can be chosen when only
one person is left in line and he becomes the leader for the next game. If
desired a time limit can be put on the game which is played several times with
different leaders and the one who was able to drop the most
players out of line counts coup and wins.
Ball Juggle Race Indians: Plains-Southwest
Individual-Pack Outdoors - IndoorsThis game was played by Indian women. The
Shoshone and Ute women were especially good at this juggling game known as Topa.
They played by juggling two, three, or rarely four gypsum balls in the air,
keeping them in almost constant flight as they walked or ran
to the goal line.
1) The cubs can use
tennis balls, rubber balls, or any other lightweight type of ball not exceeding
6 inches in diameter. It is best for the players to start out with two balls
unless they are
2) Make sure that the ground the race is on, is level and unbroken.
Drop Stick Indians: Northwest Coast
Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors - IndoorsThis game has been a favorite of the Kwakiutl and other
piece of thick wire is used to make a ring on the ring stick which is a dowel 24
inches long (straight wooden twigs could also be used if available). The ring is
2 1/2 inches in diameter. The other equipment needed is 24 straight twigs or
wooden dowels 8 3/4
2) The pointed end of the stick with the ring is thrust
into the ground for about 4 inches. The player is given 24 sticks (if desired
this number could be reduced) and tries to drop the sticks, one by one, from
shoulder level, through the ring on the ground.
One scout keeps track of the score of each participant.
Once the cubs become proficient at this game, a more difficult form of the game
can be played for expert players - the player is blindfolded. To add additional
difficulty, the player can also be
turned around a few times while blindfolded.
Ball Drop Indians: Northwest Coast
Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors - IndoorsThe Indians played this game by dropping a small ball cut
from a piece of softwood, a pebble, or a bead into a seashell about 5 inches in
diameter and 3 inches deep. The ball, bead, or pebble is
dropped from shoulder height.
1) Cubs can play this
game by using small paper or sponge rubber balls, measuring about a inch in
diameter, and dropping them into a paper cup or container, or a bowl of some
sort that isn't too
wide across the brim.
2) The scout only has three tries and the ball has to
remain in the cup to score. To make the game more difficult the player can be
turned around, blindfolded, or both to
make the game more intriguing to the player.
Ring in a Ring Indians: Southwest
Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors - IndoorsThe Pueblo people were fond of this game which the Zuni
rings were originally made from smooth flexible twigs. Rope grommets, flexible
tubing, or cardboard rings could be used. One ring measures 3 1/2 inches in the
diameter and the smaller ring is 2 3/4 inches in diameter. The biggest ring is
wrapped in alternating quarters of blue and green yarn and the smaller ring was
wrapped with white yarn. The rings were wrapped by the Indians
in this way because of their love for decoration.
2) The big ring is placed on the ground and the small ring
is tossed from a distance of 10 to 20 feet, the object of the game being to land
the smaller ring inside the larger ring without
touching any part of it with the smaller ring.
3) The winner is
decided by the best score in three or six throws when done on an individual
basis within a den. When dens are competing on a Pack basis; each den member
throws once and the den who has the score wins the round. The winning den is
the best out of three or six rounds.
Knotty Indians: Southwest(Pueblo)
Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors - Indoors1) Each scout is provided with a thin rope that is a foot
2) Two players
sit face to face with about 8 feet between them. One player holds his rope in
front of him and the other scout is the guesser. When the scout who is the
guesser says "Ready!" the other scout puts his cord behind him and makes any
number of simple, single knots on it, from one to four. The knots are made as
fast as possible and when done, the player brings his empty hand out in front of
him. His opponent guesses how many knots there are on the
cord. The guesser only has one chance.
upon the guess the rope is held out in front of the player who made the knots,
in order to prove the guess right or wrong. The scout making the knots tries to
fool his opponent by only making one knot, none, or several knots in the time it
should take to make one, in order to fool his opponent. His face can give the
expression that his hands are idle when they are actually busy
or vice versa.
4) When playing this game as a den
competition, each player on each team has a turn at knotting and guessing before
the winning side can count coup. A team can have a brief conference before
guessing the number of knots made by the opposing den. In den competition it is
best to have a referee such as the Cubmaster or other leader to
keep track of the score made by each team.
Catamount Indians: Northwest Coast
Individual Outdoors - Indoors1) A 2 by 4 inch plank, at least 6 feet long, is held firmly in
place with the 2 inch side uppermost, by driving two stakes securely into the
ground on either side and at both ends of the
2) The two contestants stand facing each other on the
middle of the two inch strip. This is accomplished by having each scout standing
with one foot advanced in front of each other, the toe of the rear foot barely
touching the heel of the foot in front. There should be about 2 feet between the
contestants. The right hand of each
challenger is slightly forward ready for action.
3) When the chief (den
leader, den chief, cubmaster) gives the command "ATTACK!" each contestant
without advancing tries to cause his opponent to lose balance by slapping him on
the palm of the
When the contestant
puts even a toe on the ground he loses that bout. The challenge-game is best
judged by a two-wins out of three basis. The winner meets new contestants until
he is defeated, so the last challenger on the strip counts grand coup and
opponents may also try striking each other with left hands
only or with both hands as additional ways of playing this game.
Trapped Indians: Northwest Coast-Eskimos
Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors - Indoors1) Two players of about equal weight
go down on their hands and knees facing away from each other with the soles of
Indians used rawhide (30 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide), but cubs can use
rope or similar stiff strong material. A loop is tied at each end; which is
placed around the right foot of each challenger so it covered the ankle. On the
word "PULL!" from the leader, each contestant tried to pull the other backward
for a few feet (i.e. 5 feet) to decide who is the winner of the round. The
winner of two out of three rounds goes on to challenge the next
3) Several teams can compete at
one time (i.e. four or five teams all pulling on the command "Pull") with the
winner of each pair winning to challenge the winner of another pair until there
is one grand champion. One den can also compete against other dens in this
4) Variations can be
introduced such as pulling with the left feet
or with both feet as well.
Copperhead Indians: Woodland-Plains
Individual-Den Outdoors-Indoors1) The scout who plays the copperhead is blindfolded
leaving the ears uncovered sits cross-legged on the ground. The other players
from two to six, stand on different sides of the copperhead at a distance of 12
feet. Their positions are unknown to the snake.
Originally, the fang for the copperhead was constructed out of four very light,
straight willow branches each about 30 inches long. These were tied together
with grass and wrapped tightly in
buckskin or cloth.
fang for the scout is made of cloth wrapped around a long
narrow piece of cardboard to give it stiffness.
3) The chief (youth or adult leader) calls "Attack!", the
attackers advance one by one, in the order in which they are pointed at by he
chief. The attacker may walk or tiptoes very slowly, or creep, but must not rush
the copperhead. This is a game of stealth. The attacker tries to touch the
copperhead on top of the head without being struck by the copperhead's fang. The
copperhead needs to wait until he can really hear the attacker before he
"strikes". The copperhead can only attack once and only in one direction. The
copperhead cannot swing his fang in a circular swoop.
4) If the copperhead's fang
touches the attacker anywhere, that attacker is out of the game; but if the fang
doesn't touch the
attacker, he must withdraw the fang back to striking position.
5) The first attacker
to touch the copperhead on top of the head counts coup and is allowed to be the
copperhead when the next round begins. All of the attackers are allowed the
chance to go into action against the copperhead, whether a previous attacker has
touched the copperhead or not. Should the copperhead be able to touch all the
attackers, he counts grand coup and may, if he
wishes, play the role of the copperhead again in the next round.
Great Salt Lake Council