The Rite To Play Without Competition
There are two main questions one should asked themselves when studying the origin of games in Native America, that of their origin, and that of their distribution.
Recognizing the widespread Native American belief that you can learn while you play and play while you learn. Native American games provided stories to our ancestors that both educated and entertained.
Precisely because rituals, which used music and dance, were such an integral part of American Indian healing practices as well as all aspects of warfare, it is not surprising to find a parallel role for them in Native American sport. This was and is reflected in the many legends that are at the basis of Native beliefs, especially so in a world where humans and animals freely intermix. Take, for instance, the Cherokee story of the game between the birds and the land animals. How the Leopard Got his Spots. The anomaly of a flying mammal in some West Coast Tribes.
Dreams and wishes were also and continue to be a very important part of the Native beliefs systems. At some festivals, native people would make up riddles about their dreams and others try to guess what those dreams meant.
Also a war surrogate, lacrosse (one of the most important games in Native America) preparations were identical to those undertaken before going on the warpath, while territorial disputes were often settled among southeastern tribes by playing a game. The Anishnabe double balls were sometimes made of straight sticks or bones with a cord of plant fiber or hide used to tie the sticks together, which is known today as Lacrosse. Southern tribes usually used two small, light racquets, while northern tribes usually used one long, heavy racquet.
In order not to limit ourselves to only one rite, here are but a few of the sacred games that you would find in one tribe or another from East to West and North to South: Lacrosse, Chuck Away Grains, Stone Warriors, Indians and Jack The Rabbit, Game of Words, Ball and Triangle, Ring and Pin, Bundle and Pin, Little Pines, Throw the Ball. Each of these games represent something very sacred and would require the Elder or the Medicine person to begin all preparation for the game to come. This was done in representation of being on the earth acknowledging there is only one Creator.
Two Spirited Individuals are only beginning to re-acquire this rite in a modern society. There are now baseball teams being formed, bowling teams, square dance teams etc. It is the belief of many, that we are only beginning to come out of the supression of Native American culture from the last 500 years of colonization.