Archery games took on many challenging forms: speed shooting, shooting at moving targets, and shooting for accuracy (3-D archery).
 
An example of speed shooting is the Game of Arrows common among the Mandan of the plains. The player would have a fist full of arrows and start by shooting one straight into the air. He quickly reloaded and continued shooting until the first arrow hit the ground. Early settlers’ reported that a hunter could shoot fifteen to twenty arrows in a minute while riding a horse at full-speed beside a herd of buffalo.
Archery games took on many challenging forms: speed shooting, shooting at moving targets, and shooting for accuracy (3-D archery).
 
An example of speed shooting is the Game of Arrows common among the Mandan of the plains. The player would have a fist full of arrows and start by shooting one straight into the air. He quickly reloaded and continued shooting until the first arrow hit the ground. Early settlers’ reported that a hunter could shoot fifteen to twenty arrows in a minute while riding a horse at full-speed beside a herd of buffalo.

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

First Nations Boy

First Nations boy with bow and arrow on the Yukon River, Yukon Territory Canada, 1900.

Glenbow Museum Archives
c. 1900
NA-25-16
© Glenbow Museum Archives


The Pima of Arizona played a fascinating moving target game. Each boy would "ante up" an arrow to be collected by the winner. One boy ran with a bundle of rags dragging behind him while his friends tried to shoot an arrow into the bundle. The winner was the first to have his arrow stick into the rags. The boy who won took all the arrows but had to give a few to the runner as compensation as the runner was obviously in a dangerous position!
The Pima of Arizona played a fascinating moving target game. Each boy would "ante up" an arrow to be collected by the winner. One boy ran with a bundle of rags dragging behind him while his friends tried to shoot an arrow into the bundle. The winner was the first to have his arrow stick into the rags. The boy who won took all the arrows but had to give a few to the runner as compensation as the runner was obviously in a dangerous position!

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

Cree Boys with bows and arrows

Cree Boys with bows and arrows, Little Pine Reserve, Saskatchewan, Canada, 1963.

Photographer : Dempsey, H.A.
Glenbow Museum Archives
c. 1963
NA-1433-19.
© Glenbow Museum Archives


Archery has been both a part of First Nations history and is a part of its present. The photos here are of the Banff Indian Days. These games ended in 1978, but were revived as Tribal Days by the Buffalo Nations Cultural Society in 1992.
Archery has been both a part of First Nations history and is a part of its present. The photos here are of the Banff Indian Days. These games ended in 1978, but were revived as Tribal Days by the Buffalo Nations Cultural Society in 1992.

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

Banff Indian Days

Archery for First Nations people has rarely been about shooting at a single mark. Banff Indian Days, July 1941.

Photographer: F. Gully
Glenbow Museum Archives
1941 07
NA-1241-704
© Glenbow Museum Archives


Photo

Banff Indian Days July 8, 1942.

Photographer: F. Gully
Glenbow Museum Archives

NA-1241-780
© Glenbow Museum Archives


Reginald Wallace Hill was born in 1905 on the Six Nations Reserve, was one of the founding members of the Six Nations Archery club and the Six Nations Arts and Council. Reg Hill, as he was known, was a graduate of Upper Canada College in Toronto and served with the British Supply Board in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Later on Reg Hill became a teacher on Six Nations Reserve. Hill’s greatest victory was winning the Archery Championship at the Canada National Exhibition in Toronto in 1951.

3-D archery competitions have always been an integral part of the North American Indigenous Games.
Reginald Wallace Hill was born in 1905 on the Six Nations Reserve, was one of the founding members of the Six Nations Archery club and the Six Nations Arts and Council. Reg Hill, as he was known, was a graduate of Upper Canada College in Toronto and served with the British Supply Board in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Later on Reg Hill became a teacher on Six Nations Reserve. Hill’s greatest victory was winning the Archery Championship at the Canada National Exhibition in Toronto in 1951.

3-D archery competitions have always been an integral part of the North American Indigenous Games.

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

Reg Hill

Reg Hill, Seneca - Six Nations, shooting for accuracy. Hill won the 1951 Men's Target event at the Canadian Archery Championships

Woodland Cultural Centre

© Woodland Cultural Centre


Learning Objectives

The learner will:
  • Explain the significance of bow and arrow games to First Nation peoples with reference to its history;
  • Describe several different archery games practised by First Nation peoples in the past and in the present; give examples;
  • Recognize the accomplishments of Reginald Hill in the field of archery.

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