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 Branco. 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.

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!!! Warning !!!

Pebble Patterns Indians: Northwest Coast, Plains, Woodland Individual-Den-Pack Indoors-Outdoors

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 be alike.
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 inches long.

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 vari-colored and patterned pebbles.

4) He now asks the cubs to turn around and look at the pattern for 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.

5) 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, Northwest Coast Den-Pack Outdoors

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 belt in 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.

5) The 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 pursuers.

6) The game can be held for thirty or forty minutes and if the 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, Woodland Individual Outdoors

1) 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 resemble 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 move more 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.

Rattler ! Indians: Plains, Woodland, Northwest Coast, Southwest Individual-Den Outdoors

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 into the 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.

Tender of 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 fire-tenders knees.

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 the sticks.

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 ears.

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.

2) The 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 ruse or stratagem.

3) Before 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 period of 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 Indoors

1) A chief (denner) is blindfolded and stands in the middle of a circle fifty feet in diameter plainly marked on the ground. The 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 advance.

3) 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 off the mark. The chief who is the referee has the final say.

Keen Eye Indians: Plains Individual - Den Outdoors

1) 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 dens.

Breath Holding : Pebbles Indian: Northwest Coast Individual - Indoors Outdoors or Indoors

1) 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
to move 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 play-word Tillikum.

4) The player or team who moves the most pebbles while constantly repeating "Tillikum" is the winner.

Breath Holding : Dua ! Indian: Northwest Coast Individual - Den Outdoors or Indoors

1) 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.

4) It is best to know the number of knots in the length of rope in advance and then count the lengths of rope.

5) 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 Indoors

1) 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 constellations that 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 constellation or 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 the constellation.

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 can.

3) The 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
to come.

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.

5) 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 counts coup.

Tracks Indians: Plains, Woodland, Northwest Coast Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors or Indoors

1) Indian boys learned the art of hunting early and it was important for them to recognize tracks of various common animals at a glance.

2) 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 to the 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 name it.

Captive of War Indians: Northwest Coast Den-Pack Outdoors

1) 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 captured.

Buffalo Corral (Buffalo Pound, Buffalo Hunt) Indians: Plains Den - Pack Outdoors

1) 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 the hunt.

2) A 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 all stationed 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 behind at 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 Outdoors

The 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 between players.

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 is 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 required.

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-Indoors

The 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 the space available.
When indoors to make the game more challenging varying 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 onwards.

Hop Between

1) 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 Race

This 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 onward.

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 three times.

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 line.

Crooked Path

Follow 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 girls.

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 next, no one can tell.

2) As 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 other 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 - Indoors

This 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 quite experienced.

2) Make sure that the ground the race is on, is level and unbroken.

Drop Stick Indians: Northwest Coast Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors - Indoors

This game has been a favorite of the Kwakiutl and other Northwest Coast tribes.

1) A 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 inches long

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.

3) 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 - Indoors

The 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 - Indoors

The Pueblo people were fond of this game which the Zuni boys called Tsi-ko-Wai.

1) The 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 determined by the best out of three or six rounds.

Knotty Indians: Southwest(Pueblo) Individual-Den-Pack Outdoors - Indoors

1) Each scout is provided with a thin rope that is a foot and a half long.

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.

3) Immediately 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 - Indoors

1) 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 plank.

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 outstretched hand.
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 becomes champion.

4) The 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 - Indoors

1) Two players of about equal weight go down on their hands and knees facing away from each other with the soles of the feet touching.

2) The 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 person.

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 way.

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-Indoors

1) 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.

2) 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.
The 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.


Dan Mott
Great Salt Lake Council