Native American Sports and Games

Back in the day, Native Americans used to play games as part of their tribal ceremonies, and it was also used to teach children specific skills and abilities. It was also used to bring a wide range of luck to the tribe, including driving away evil spirits, good harvests, and rain. Girls and boys always played separately. Native Americans also appreciated the discipline, talent and skills involved with sports and games.

The girls used to learn about childcare, while the boys used to learn about hunting and warfare. The games or sports that the Native Americans used to play were mostly games of chance or skill. The games that involved chance consisted of luck, while games that involved power used to be based on mental and physical abilities. The sports and games that used to be played by Native Americans include:


This was one of the most popular games played by Native Americans and remains a popular game in the country to this day. Lacrosse involved passing a ball while using sticks with nets to catch and throw the ball. The game used to be played from sunup to sundown and was a great form of entertainment that required a specific set of skills and talent. It was also used to settle various disputes among tribes.

The Bowl Game

This type of game was immensely popular with the Iroquois during the Midwinter Festival. The Bowl game consisted of 6 black balls on one side along with six white balls on the other as well as a wooden bowl. With several nuts placed inside the container, a player would continue by hitting the container to the ground. If five balls ended together of the same colour, he/she would earn a point. This was mainly a game of chance.

Ring the Stick

This game is undoubtedly the most popular among the Native American people and was primarily played by children. Kids used to tie a string to one of a stick along with a ring to the end of the series. A player will then toss the ring into the air while attempting to catch the ring with the sharp end of the stick they were holding. It was a game used to teach children the importance of having a goal in life as well as hand-eye coordination.

Butterfly Hide and Seek

This game was primarily played by girls and was a cool game. A girl would be picked, and they would need to close their eyes whiling singing butterfly, where should I go. The rest of the girls would find the right place to hide quickly while remaining silent. Once the song was over, the girl had to search for the girls that were hiding without saying a word. This was also considered a game of skill as the girl that was searching for the other girls had to look for clues on the ground as to where they might be hiding.


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