The Eastern Woodland region of North America is bordered by: the Subarctic to the north, the Plains to the west, the Southeast to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. This area includes the Iroquoian (e.g., Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora) and Algonquian (e.g., Ojibwa, Odawa, Potawatomi, Algonkian, Abenaki, Mi’kmaq) language groups. The information provided here is only a sampling of First Nations games information. We encourage you to learn more about these and other First Nations games and athletes from across North America. For more information visit or write to your nearest Cultural Centre or Museum!
The Eastern Woodland region of North America is bordered by: the Subarctic to the north, the Plains to the west, the Southeast to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. This area includes the Iroquoian (e.g., Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Tuscarora) and Algonquian (e.g., Ojibwa, Odawa, Potawatomi, Algonkian, Abenaki, Mi’kmaq) language groups. The information provided here is only a sampling of First Nations games information. We encourage you to learn more about these and other First Nations games and athletes from across North America. For more information visit or write to your nearest Cultural Centre or Museum!

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

One of the more physical games is called doubleball. In many places, doubleball was a game played by the women and girls. Doubleball was a team sport, which could have from 5 to 10 players on each team, as long as there was an equal amount on both sides. A player would have a stick with a curved end used to catch and throw the doubleball. The doubleball was two round pieces of leather weighted down by sand and tied together with a piece of leather. Rules for doubleball varied, but the object of the game would be to either carry the ball past a certain area or to hit a goal stake in the ground with the doubleball. The playing area would measure around 91 meters (300 feet) in length, but any open field could be used. It is recordedthat the Cree used a playing field 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) in length. doubleball is set up with a goal at either end of the field of play. The field may be of almost any size. Teams may also be of any size, but should be equal. In the old days, lacrosse and doubleball games were sometimes played with one goal in one village and the other goal in the next village.
One of the more physical games is called doubleball. In many places, doubleball was a game played by the women and girls. Doubleball was a team sport, which could have from 5 to 10 players on each team, as long as there was an equal amount on both sides. A player would have a stick with a curved end used to catch and throw the doubleball. The doubleball was two round pieces of leather weighted down by sand and tied together with a piece of leather. Rules for doubleball varied, but the object of the game would be to either carry the ball past a certain area or to hit a goal stake in the ground with the doubleball. The playing area would measure around 91 meters (300 feet) in length, but any open field could be used. It is recordedthat the Cree used a playing field 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) in length. doubleball is set up with a goal at either end of the field of play. The field may be of almost any size. Teams may also be of any size, but should be equal. In the old days, lacrosse and doubleball games were sometimes played with one goal in one village and the other goal in the next village.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Doubleball

Close up picture of the doubleball

Photography by Mark Barrowcliffe
Woodland Cultural Centre

© Woodland Cultural Centre


The snowsnake competition is a traditional Woodland Native winter sport. The object of this game is to throw a specially prepared stick down a snow track. The stick that is thrown the furthest down the track after three tries, wins the competition. A snowsnake 1.83 meters long (6 ft) or mudcat 1.21 meters long (4 ft) can take up to eight years to prepare in order ensure the proper shape and hardening of the wood which is able to withstand the wet and icy conditions. The track is made by piling snow about 76 centimeters high (30 inches) and gradually slopes to ground level most tracks are about a mile long. A log is used to make a groove along the top of the track for the snowsnakes to travel. The teams consist of a Shiner, a Thrower and a Marker. The Shiner is the one who prepares the snowsnake according to the weather conditions. The Thrower stands in the pitch hole, takes a running start and throws the snake onto the track. Sometimes the Shiner can also be the one who marks the distance the snowsnake has traveled. Records show snowsnakes traveling up to 2.4 kilometers (one and a half miles).

Snowsnake tournaments are still played today. The Woodland Cultural Centre h Read More
The snowsnake competition is a traditional Woodland Native winter sport. The object of this game is to throw a specially prepared stick down a snow track. The stick that is thrown the furthest down the track after three tries, wins the competition. A snowsnake 1.83 meters long (6 ft) or mudcat 1.21 meters long (4 ft) can take up to eight years to prepare in order ensure the proper shape and hardening of the wood which is able to withstand the wet and icy conditions. The track is made by piling snow about 76 centimeters high (30 inches) and gradually slopes to ground level most tracks are about a mile long. A log is used to make a groove along the top of the track for the snowsnakes to travel. The teams consist of a Shiner, a Thrower and a Marker. The Shiner is the one who prepares the snowsnake according to the weather conditions. The Thrower stands in the pitch hole, takes a running start and throws the snake onto the track. Sometimes the Shiner can also be the one who marks the distance the snowsnake has traveled. Records show snowsnakes traveling up to 2.4 kilometers (one and a half miles).

Snowsnake tournaments are still played today. The Woodland Cultural Centre hosts a tournament in late January or early February. For more information on this annual event contact www.woodland-centre.on.ca

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Snowsnake

Snowsnakes can take up to eight years before they are ready to be used in a tournament

Woodland Cultural Centre

© Woodland Cultural Centre


Similar to baseball, longball uses a stick or a bat to hit a ball into the field where the opposing team is standing. The batter will get three attempts (strikes) to hit the ball. Once the ball is hit, instead of the batter running, the batter stays put. The rest of the batter’s team must run to a designated line on the field and run back to the to where the batter is standing.

The outfield team must catch the hit ball and then throw it at the runners from the opposing team. Once a runner is hit with the ball, it is considered an out. Three outs are required to change from the field to the batting position. A point is awarded for each team member who returns to the spot the ball was hit from, if the ball has not touched them. Full game instructions have been included in the Learning Object, Student Activity: Longball, in this Collection.
Similar to baseball, longball uses a stick or a bat to hit a ball into the field where the opposing team is standing. The batter will get three attempts (strikes) to hit the ball. Once the ball is hit, instead of the batter running, the batter stays put. The rest of the batter’s team must run to a designated line on the field and run back to the to where the batter is standing.

The outfield team must catch the hit ball and then throw it at the runners from the opposing team. Once a runner is hit with the ball, it is considered an out. Three outs are required to change from the field to the batting position. A point is awarded for each team member who returns to the spot the ball was hit from, if the ball has not touched them. Full game instructions have been included in the Learning Object, Student Activity: Longball, in this Collection.

© 2009, CHIN-Canadian Heritage Information Network. All Rights Reserved.

Stick

Traditional longball stick.

Photography by Mark Barrowcliffe
Woodland Cultural Centre

© Woodland Cultural Centre


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Define Eastern Woodland peoples;
  • Describe three Eastern Woodland games played outdoors, including rules of play, necessary materials, and the skills practised.

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